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Rural Idaho school district sees influx of city kids

| August 20, 2020 11:43 AM

GARDEN VALLEY, Idaho (AP) — A rural Idaho school district is pushing back its start date because of an influx of children from neighboring cities that have enrolled in its schools.

Garden Valley School District Superintendent Vickie Chandler said the normally small school system is being pushed to its limit with new enrollees from Boise, Nampa, Caldwell and Meridian.

Boise television station KTVB reports that over the last 10 days, 79 new students have enrolled. That’s a 35% increase from the district’s usual student body.

The students are able to enroll because their parents have moved to Garden Valley, Chandler said. Some of the families have purchased new homes, but many already had property in the region.

“They’re moving here because they have second homes and they can go to school, in school, which is something the parents really wanted,” Chandler said.

The district normally provides each student with an electronic learning device, but officials are struggling to come up with 79 new computers. Many classrooms are also going to be over capacity, Chandler said, as class sizes swell from fewer than 20 students to roughly 30.

Schools were set to open on Aug. 18, but that’s been pushed to Monday to give the district time to adjust.

“I’d really like to say, please, please don’t do it, but we’re a very welcoming community and school,” she said. “And it would be very hard for us to be well-prepared for many more students if they were coming in with school starting on Monday.”