The Powell area is experiencing a surprise uptick of kindergartners at the start of the new school year. Park County School District #1 performs screenings for each grade in the spring to help prepare for the next school year.
Superintendent Jay Curtis said they always expect the numbers to change a little, but they did not expect kindergartners to increase from 128 to 148. He said this meant the number of hours paraeducators or teachers assistants work had to increase.
"We have paraeducators in every kindergarten class that come in for four hours a day. And any class that exceeded that magical ratio of 16-to-1, we the increased the number of hours by that paraeducator from four to seven, which takes them to the end of the day," said Curtis.
Curtis said the district values small classes.
"The magical number to add another class was 154, so [we're] watching pretty closely," he said. "It's looking like our number has steadied."
But Curtis said it's possible it may exceed the magical number during the school year and then they will have to see what the best option is. Curtis said Powell is the only district in northwest Wyoming experiencing such an increase in kindergartners.