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Harrisburg Parents Support Increased Class Size

March 29, 2011, 6:06 PM by Peggy Moyer

Harrisburg Parents Support Increased Class Size
HARRISBURG, SD - The Harrisburg school district is expanding and looking to do more with less.

School administrators hope increasing class sizes will cushion the blow to their budget so they don't have to cut into quality programs for the children. 

The parents KELOLAND News spoke with say they support the district's plan.

Ms. Schlim's Harrisburg first graders learn how to write words in the past tense form. Their classroom is a comfortable size today. But next year, this class could be bigger. And that's OK with parents.

"I think the district is doing a great job," Eli Harden, a Harrisburg parent, said.

"With the expansion now and they didn't foresee the budget cuts coming either so I don't know what I could do different," Harrisburg parent Darren Pierson said.

In addition to figuring out how the district is going to handle the 6.6 percent budget cut, the Harrisburg school district also has one of the fastest growing school district populations in the state.

"With our growth, we expect 200-250 new kids next year. So our cuts really are just absorbing more kids into our present staff without as many hires,” superintendent of the Harrisburg school district Jim Holbeck said.

Holbeck is hopeful increasing class size will have minimal impact.

“Anytime you're adding more kids into the classroom, it will have an impact. And you don't measure impact in a year. You measure impact ten years from now. I think those things are going to show up down the road,” Holbeck said.

In the meantime, there's no stopping the quality of education Harrisburg parents feel their children are receiving.

“So far it has been great. I'm really impressed with how things are going and the kids are doing in school,” Pierson said.

“They're building successful citizens here that are going to do successful things and give back to this community and other areas around us,” Harden said.

In the past nine years, the Harrisburg school district has had to build two elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. 

It's expected more than 200 additional students will move into the community before the next school year starts.

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