SPECIAL REPORT: Auburn Growth
by Christina Chambers
The city of Auburn is growing and the Auburn city school system is reflecting that growth. The school district saw its student body grow by eight percent at the beginning of the school year. After winter break, it saw more than 50 new students in its schools. “They're not just coming from another district. We're seeing students move from Texas, California, and South Korea,” said Auburn Jr. High School Principal Jason Wright.
The Auburn school district has six elementary schools, one middle school, one junior high, and one high school. Superintendent Dr. Terry Jenkins said they are quickly approaching full capacity in three schools. “We are over 90 percent capacity in three of our elementary schools,” said Jenkins.
Auburn City Schools does not allow students outside the Auburn city limits to attend school. Dr. Jenkins said they have a support staff that will go door-to-door to see if students live where they say they live. “This is necessary and only fair to those residents who live in the city limits and pay taxes,” said Jenkins. Those students who lie about their address will be asked to leave the school district.
But to accommodate the new students living in Auburn, some say there is no choice except to build. “We have narrowed it down to two locations for a new elementary school and four locations for a new high school,” said Jenkins.
Jenkins said work on the new elementary school would start before building a new high school. The new additions would cause new zoning and structure at the current schools.
Here is how it breaks down:
*Drake Middle School will become an elementary school
*The current jr. high will house just 7th graders
*The current high school will house only 8th and 9th graders
*The new high school will house 10th -12th graders
The only think standing in the way is finalizing a location and finding a way to pay for it. “We work very closely with the city. We would get most if not all the funding through Auburn city taxes,” said Jenkins.