WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - The Wichita Public School District is considering two options that could help manage an overcrowding problem at Southeast High School.

The changes would move some students to Heights High School either by a special transfer or a boundary change.

Parents can give their feedback on November, 3 at 6:0 p.m. at Adams Elementary or online.

Feedback will then go to the school board for a recommendation on Monday.


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"We're being packed like sardines. Because when you look at it, when you look at an aerial view, we're pretty tight," said Southeast High student Andrew Le.

Le is talking about what he describes as horrible conditions at the school because of overcrowding.

And it's not just in the hallways and classes.

"My friend was complaining today that she can't ride the bus, because there were virtually no seats possible, and all the seats on the floor, basically just sitting on the floor, and we're taken," said Le.

It's a problem Wichita Schools Operations Director Fabian Armendariz says he's been watching for years. Now, it's bad enough that he says it's time for the BOE to consider more changes.

The school is more than 200 students over capacity on top of being short-staffed. Southeast teachers like Joanna Farmer, nearly in tears, desperately asking the BOE for help Monday.

 

"I'm tired. And it takes everything I have to get up and repeat those 14-hour days again and again," said Farmer. 

Armendariz says the main reason for the overcrowding is the huge increase in homes built in the district.

"That's an area of our city that's growing. And it's one of the few areas within the district that has the potential to grow," said Armendariz.

In April and August, the board did make some short-term changes to help reduce the numbers at Southeast, but Armendariz says it's not enough.

Now, he's recommending changing the boundary between heights and Southeast. This would send about 260 students to heights, putting both schools within a close margin of capacity.

Le says while he's glad the BOE is listening, he hopes they'll do more.

"Come out and see what it's really like. To be able to fully experience and to continue having those tough conversations with not only faculty or staff, but also listen to students and how we feel. Because at the end of the day, that's who it really affects," said Le.