Changes for Billings Schools - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Changes for Billings Schools

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With a new school year, schools are taking steps to keep class sizes the same and protect kids.

Some schools are finding a larger class size. Meadowlark Elementary has 140 kindergarten students this year, and had to add two more classrooms and teachers to keep the teacher to student ratio at one to twenty.

"We did that because we take not only the Meadowlark Elementary children, but we have the kindergartners from Burlington Elementary and also we've taken any students from Big Sky Elementary that put their classrooms over accreditation and so we were able to fill seven classrooms here just like that," said Stacy Lemelin, Meadowlark Elementary's principal.

The elementary school has adjusted to the larger size and is also excited about increased security features that are coming.

"Whatever we can do to keep our students safe," Lemelin said. "That is the most important thing."

Twenty-six K-8 schools are getting two surveillance cameras and a buzz-in system with a magnetic lock on the main entrance. The school district is trying to get funding for the high schools as well. But officials say having plans is just as important.

"We're trying to establish protocol in the schools," said Lew Anderson, facilities executive director. "We're also trying to make the school safer by involving the teachers in this too so they know what to look for and they know how to react in an emergency situation. And that's really going to be a critical piece."

Elementary schools currently have all the doors except for the main entrance locked. Visitors have to sign in at the door.