Neosho Back to School Overcrowding Issues

Published 08/13 2014 07:06PM

Updated 08/13 2014 07:08PM

NEOSHO, MO.--- Neosho High School and Junior High School teachers are sharing classrooms this year. Many of the rooms are filled to maximum capacity with at least 25 to 30 students each. One of those teachers dealing with overcrowding in his classroom this year is high school history teacher, Conon Gillis.

"It also is much more difficult because, one of the biggest things that makes a difference in whether or not a student succeeds, is having a really good relationship with them. If you have many more students in the class, it's harder to get one on one relationships with each individual student," said Conon Gillis, Neosho High School History Teacher.

Voters denied a bond issue twice earlier this year to build a new junior high, so teachers and students will continue to work in an overcrowded environment.

"The community, I feel like has spoken in the last two elections that, that they're not ready to make that change yet. We do have several in our community who do. So we're going to work with them and work with those," said Dan Decker, Neosho Schools Superintendent.

The bond not passing has created more issues than just overcrowded classrooms. Teachers say students who attend classes in mobile units may feel demoralizing. Safety is also a concern. 

"Being out here actually away from the campus is a really big safety concern, because it could be very easy for somebody to just walk up to the trailers, and we're very limited in that way," said Gillis. 

Although the classroom arrangements are not ideal, teachers say they are making the most out of the crowded situation. Helping students succeed is always their main goal.

"If any issues come along, you kind of just have to go with the flow and do the best you can. And most of the students I've had, they know that they're here to learn and whatever the conditions are, they're just going to push on through it," said Gillis. 

Although the bond issue did not pass, a storm shelter is currently under construction at the high school. It will also double as 18 classrooms for more space and should be complete by March 2015.

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