MISD closes enrollment at Fasken Elementary to address overcrowding, parents question 'delayed action'

MISD closes enrollment at Fasken Elementary to address overcrowding, parents question 'delayed action'
Midland ISD Administration Building (Source: KWES)

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Midland parents questioned the school district's approach to handling overcrowding after administrators announced Thursday they would close enrollment at newly opened Fasken Elementary School.

Woodrow Bailey, a spokesperson for Midland Independent School District (MISD), said additional students in the Fasken attendance zone attempting to enroll in the district would be assigned to designated "overflow campuses" - Yarbrough Elementary, Parker Elementary and Greathouse Elementary.

Bus routes for overflow students will only be provided at Yarbrough and Parker, he confirmed.

The district also announced plans to add eight teaching positions and place temporary portable classrooms at Fasken.

"The most frustrating thing for me, as a parent, is watching our district be reactive instead of proactive," said Laren Bridges, a mother of five - two of whom attend Fasken - and an active Parent Teacher Association (PTA) member.

MISD parents had been suggesting "portables" as an overflow option for months, she said, and had repeatedly raised concerns about potential overcrowding at Fasken prior to the start of the school year.

"[Administrators] did not have to wait until after the first day of school to do something," said Bridges. "The enrollment numbers were already up there... When you have a capacity of 800 and you get to 900 [students enrolled], it is asinine to assume that 100 kids aren't going to show up after they've registered in school. To me, this is delayed action."

Bailey said the decision to close Fasken enrollment was not made earlier because projected enrollment was "exactly that... just projections."

"You never really know with 100 percent certainty exactly where all the students are going to land," he explained.

Bailey maintained the campus experience at the three overflow schools would be "basically the same" - aside from the lack of busing for overflow students placed at Greathouse - as what students received at Fasken.

The latest enrollment figures, released Thursday afternoon, show approximately 24,400 students are currently enrolled in MISD schools, he confirmed.

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