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Buchanan adds more Galien students than expected

BUCHANAN, Mich. - The numbers are in and Buchanan Area Schools saw a huge boost in their student population this year. Per pupil funding numbers were released this week and more than 90 new students are enrolled in Buchanan.

Superintendent Andrea Van der Laan told ABC 57 News Thursday that the district knew they’d be getting new students from the closed Galien School District but numbers nearly tripled their estimate.

Since Galien only had a K-8 program, most of the new students are enrolled at Moccasin Elementary School where parents are seeing an increase in students and overcrowding concerns are being addressed.

“More kids, more parents, more traffic,” said Marsha McCord, a Moccasin Elementary School grandmother, who said the growth has been apparent to parents during pick-up hours at the school.

She arrived at the school 45 minutes early Thursday to beat the rush.

“If not I’ll have to park almost to Third Street.”

“It's insanity,” said Karen Reid, who also picks up her grandson at the school. “It’s crazy, it really is.”

Reid said many parents feel that Buchanan Schools should look into re-opening the closed Starke Elementary School to accommodate new students.

“It’s really crowded,” she said of adding Galien students to Moccasin Elementary. “The system they’ve got going right now is not working and I don’t think it’s working for the kids as well as the parents.”

“It is not too many students,” said Van der Laan. “Yeah that building looks overcrowded because you have preschool through second grade students there and most of those kids need to get picked up.”

Van der Laan said all the classrooms in Moccasin Elementary School are being used but student population is not at capacity. She also said full-day Kindergarten and a new traffic pattern at the school makes the traffic at the school appear worse than it is. 

A new method for releasing students to parents has been implimented this year at Moccasin. Van der Laan added that once parents got used to the method she recieved several compliments.

Buchanan Schools are still 900 students below capacity level and Van der Laan said reopening Starke Elementary School wouldn’t add much extra space.

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