School district has a growing and going problem
By: Crystal Britt
By: Crystal Britt
POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. - When you've gotta go, you've gotta go. Imagine you're five years old, and your school's short on toilets. That's the case at the Mark Twain Kindergarten Center in Poplar Bluff. Overcrowding's led to a lot of leg crossing, and time away from the classroom.
Sometimes the wait is only a couple of minutes, may be five. But, to a kindergartner it's an eternity. The Mark Twain Kindergarten Center has two sets of bathrooms, 10 stalls total for 380 kids. "We're looking at about 200 students that use these two small restrooms", said Principal Carly Rosenquist. Rosenquist says every time a classroom takes a bathroom break it takes about 20 minutes. That's about an hour a day. "An hour a day times 174 days...that's a lot of hours and it averages close to 20 days a year", said Rosenquist. That's 20 days of time that could be spent in class - not waiting for the john.
But, that's not the only issue. The school lunchroom is packed, and outside there's four swings for nearly 400 kids. The whole place is bursting at the seams with five and six year olds. The school district had to add on. "Now we have 9 classrooms in these modulars out here", said Rosenquist.
So, for the second time the district's going back to the voters, asking them to approve a $16 million bond issue. It would pave the way for a new kindergarten and first grade center north of town. In November it failed. Superintendent Ernie Lawson says, "We received 5, 197 yes votes." That's half a percent shy of a victory. "We definitely have shown we have a need here in Poplar Bluff--and what's good for kids is to build this building and move forward", said Lawson.