The Menahga School Board set caps for open enrollment at 66 students in first and third grade and 75 students in fourth through sixth grade.

They reduced the caps – previously at 88 – at the Aug. 23 special board meeting.

Superintendent Kevin Wellen said the class-size limits are recommended by himself, Menahga Elementary Principal Jeannie Mayer and High School Principal Mark Frank. Due to a teacher shortage, he noted there “really isn’t a pool of candidates to draw from” to add more class sections.

Wellen reported that this year's student enrollment has increased by 149 students, for a total of 992 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. “We’re closing back in on a number that’s a viable number,” he said.

Prior to the pandemic, school enrollment was 1,046, he noted. About 210 students opted to homeschool or learn online when COVID hit.

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Enrollment could still fluctuate, Wellen said, depending on how the government and community reacts to COVID this fall.

Wellen said that class sizes are a balance of student maturity levels, finances and the ability of students to self-regulate.

In other business, the board did as follows:

  • Approved a teacher contract with Bill Hodge, high school science teacher, beginning with the 2021-22 school year, contingent upon licensure and successful background check.

  • Received notice of coaching assignments: Hannah Bliss and Emily Huotari, junior high volleyball coaches.

  • Authorized Wellen to solicit sealed bids for the sale of an old school bus.