TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Some elementary schools in Topeka are hitting capacity. One family thought they were enrolled in the district’s newest school, only to find out six days before the first day that they are not.
Classrooms in district 501 are at capacity with a 21 to 1 student to teacher ratio. This has some students being sent to schools that weren’t their first choice.
“Unfortunately, we can only put so many kids in a classroom, so we work with those families directly to try and accommodates in other ways,” director of communications at district 501, Misty Kruger said.
Douglas Kopf and his family purposely moved to be near the new Jardine elementary school. He said he enrolled his son Noah online in June when the registration began.
The Kopf’s live exactly one mile away from Jardine elementary and that’s just a 4 minute drive. They were fully prepared to bring their son there for the first day of school.
“I went up to the school to turn in his physical form and was told he had been enrolled in the previous school that he was in last year,” Douglas Kopf said. “And that they had absolutely nothing they could do for us because the school was overfull and had absolutely no space for them,” he continued.
The Kopf’s said they contacted the school many times throughout the summer to make sure Noah’s enrollment was done correctly.
“We talked to the vice principal told, was told, he’d be enrolled in that school and good to go, and that’s not the case, he’s not good to go, I don’t know whats going to happen with him on Tuesday,” Melissa Kopf said.
The Kopf’s spent the summer teaching Noah how to ride his bike to Jardine. They even attended the school’s open house and met the teachers.
“They didn’t even really say they were sorry, they just, there’s no space here, you’ll have to do something else,” Douglas Kopf said.
The school district said the Kopf’s aren’t the only family dealing with this. They said there are at least five other families at Jardine alone.
Jennifer Palmer has a similar situation with her son and not being able to attend Jardine.
“Being a ‘new and improved’ (costly to all tax payers) school, the community expected better… not only that, we deserved better,” Palmer said.
Palmer also lives one mile away from Jardine and was told to enroll there with her son’s Individualized Educational Plan.
“When we are at capacity it becomes a first come first serve situation so we’ve stop and go through all the enrollment for that grade level and we basically start at the bottom and people who enrolled last are the people we start to relocate,” Kruger said.
The district said it’s forced to put students where there is space available, but that’s of little comfort to Noah.
He said he is upset because he doesn’t get to go there anymore.
The Kopf’s said an option now is to home school Noah.
“When you have this decision impact one child, it impacts a whole family and not just one piece of the puzzle,” Melissa Kopf said.
The district encourages families to enroll as soon as enrollment starts to lower your chances of being relocated.