At Muleshoe ISD's elementary schools, they are being forced to split classrooms in two, the portable classrooms are full and they've added five new teachers this year. They expected to grow, but not by 40 students!
Dillman Elementary Principal, Todd Newberry says, "I think we're all scratching our heads thinking 'Where in the world are these kids coming from?'" Assistant Superintendent, Don Wood, says, "We've grown 50 kids so we're up 50 kids in the last two years." Forty of those kids are new this school year alone, but why the increase?
Wood says, "Muleshoe is in the heart of dairy industry and when new dairies come in, they want to locate diaries where things are booming and Muleshoe is a hub for this area. The reason it's a hub I believe is the school district is one of the best in the area."
David Brunson is the Muleshoe City Manager. He says, "The natural resources are here. We're located close to Portables. They have a dairy processing plant there. They're building a cheese plant in New Mexico. That's another boost I think. A lot of it is the community and the attitude of community and business folks and people who live here who are just progressive minded."
Brunson says economic growth will lead to 125 to 150 news jobs in Muleshoe over the next year or year and a half and local retailers have already felt an impact. Brunson says, "I think we've just started."
In the meantime, Muleshoe ISD is reimbursed for each new student through the state so money is not an issue, but they are forced to figure out where to put their influx of elementary children. Wood says, "That's a good problem. We'd rather have this problem than empty classrooms." Newberry says, "We don't want classes too large. We want to make sure our teaching is effective."
Right now, even with their new hires, there are 20 kids at Dillman Elementary for every one teacher. They'd prefer that ratio was more like 15 to 1. The district's assistant superintendent did tell NewsChannel 11 they plan to hire a consultant to come in soon and determine how to best handle their growth.