By CHRIS EVERSOLE
Mustang Public Schools have grown by nearly 500 students this year, and officials are finding new revenue streams to help pay for the ever-increasing enrollment.
The unofficial enrollment of 12,358 is up 472 students, which is greater than the 444 increase last year, officials announced at the board of education meeting last week. The official number will be finalized Oct. 1.
The enrollment brings the increased number of students over the past seven years to 19%.
The major new source of income the district plans to create is a community education program, Chief Financial Officer Nancy McKay said.
She’s excited about making schools available in the evenings so that people from within the 72 square miles of the school district can learn about topics such as auto maintenance, woodworking and resume writing.
“We have the buildings, and our taxpayers paid for them,” she said.
A pilot program of community education courses will begin in the spring semester.
Despite the growth, the school district is generally able to keep its class sizes with its guidelines, which start with no more than 24 students per class, officials said.
However, some high school classes exceed the guideline of no more than 30 students per class, said Ryan McKinney, the assistant superintendent for secondary education.
That’s because band is first period and sports are last period, meaning that students in these activities create crowding in some required classes.
Also at the board meeting, Jason Pittenger, the assistant superintendent for operations, said classes in the new science academy will begin Thursday.