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Wendy Reuer, Published November 04 2013

Superintendent: Moorhead keeping pace with enrollment growth, rapidly changing technology

MOORHEAD – The Moorhead School District is keeping pace with increasing enrollment and rapidly changing technology that has become a part of student curriculum.

As part of the annual State of the District address, Moorhead Schools Superintendent Lynne Kovash said the district has seen steady enrollment growth since the 2008-09 school year.

The district has 5,658 students in grades kindergarten through grade 12 as of this month.

The district operates on an annual budget of $60 million and despite state funding that has fluctuated in recent years, it has not had to lay off staff to keep its budget balanced, Kovash said.

Moorhead is the 35th-largest district among the state’s 337 districts. It is the largest employer in Moorhead with 853 employees, including 417 teachers.

Kovash said the 2010 referendum that passed giving the district the power to generate $5.2 million with an $850-per-pupil levy has allowed class sizes to stay small, with fewer than 30 students in most classes.

“There will be the occasional class of 30 at the high school, 32 at the middle school, but those are pretty far between,” she said.

The 2010 referendum also allowed the district to continue technology upgrades such as providing a wireless network in all buildings.

Missy Eidsness, director of school improvement and accountability, said the district was awarded a grant to help buy 14 to 15 Google Chromebooks that will be added to libraries at the middle school and high school. Eidsness said the notebooks will allow students who don’t have a tablet or laptop at home to access the same tools as students who do.

She said the length of time a student can check out the devices is still being worked out.

There are 869 students at Robert Asp Elementary, 836 at Ellen Hopkins Elementary, 769 at S.G. Reinertsen Elementary, 1,258 at Horizon Middle School and 1,593 at Moorhead High School. One hundred students attend the Red River Learning Center and 223 kindergartners attend Probstfield Education Center.

Enrollment in the district’s preschool program increased from 35 students when it began to 167 students this year, Assistant Superintendent Wayne Kazmierczak said.

He said if the district had the resources and space, the preschool program would likely continue to grow.

As the district keeps growing, the school board will likely need to consider expanding facilities, Kovash said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530