Yakima School District hit record student enrollment

Yakima School District hit record student enrollment
YAKIMA, Wash. -- More students than ever before are crowded into Yakima schools.

More than 15,000 have enrolled in the district. Kindergarten is especially filled, even after adding three new classes this year.

Students at Barge-Lincoln Elementary are learning to count just before lunch.

Just as the numbers on the board are going up, so are the number of faces around them.

The kindergarten class alone jumped from 958 students in 2008 to nearly 1,400 students this year.

"I consider myself pretty strong in classroom management, and it's tough. It's tough having so many kids, having to keep control of all of them," said Guadalupe Gonzalez, a kindergarten teacher

Guadalupe has taught at Barge-Lincoln for five years. She started with 17 students. Now she has 25.

"How have things changed for you inside the classroom," KIMA asked.

"It's a lot more chaotic at times. When we're cleaning up for center some of the times, I've had helpers in here with me and they said, "This looks like a scene from Kindergarten Cop," Guadalupe said.

Neomi Sosa teaches kindergarten down the hall.
She says helpers pitch in up to an hour a day in the classroom. But now she needs it full-time.

"Ya know, big numbers in a classroom, there's no problem with that. It's how many adults are in the classroom," Neomi said.

The packed classrooms aren't just in kindergarten. Cristian Cifuntes is a sophomore at Davis High.

"There's too many kids in the lunch room and there's too many people all the time, during class," Cristian said.

Desire is a 5th grader who says she has 25 students in her classroom.

"My favorite subject is reading."

"And are you able to learn reading pretty well with all those students around?" KIMA asked.


It's not clear why the the district is growing so quickly. The easy answer is just more people moving to the area. District officials added lunches and reorganized transportation to accommodate the extra kids. And they are already looking ahead to next year, when they expect even more students.

""It's Mrs. Gonzalez with 26 little bodies most of the day," Guadalupe said.