Over 100 kids added to Region 8 school district

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

IMBODEN, AR (KAIT) – Back in May the Twin Rivers School District was split by the state of Arkansas, those students are now a part of six different districts across Lawrence and Randolph Counties.  About half of the students ended up at one school.

While they're glad to have them, Sloan Hendrix Superintendent Mitch Walton said taking in over one hundred new students is challenging!

"A lot of the schools in North Central Arkansas have experienced a declining enrollment," said Walton.

With families moving to larger areas looking for jobs there are fewer students in the hallways.

"We had lost approximately 100 students over the last four years and this year has been quite an increase for us," said Walton.

This year they have 130 new students all from one district.

"We received more students than some of the other districts mainly because of the proximity of how we're located to the two schools," said Walton.

"It's a big change.  It's a bunch more people in my class.  I came from like six people in my class to like 70," said tenth grader Blake Bennett.

Bennett is one of the many students who is from the Sloan Hendrix School District from the now dismembered Twin Rivers School District.

"It's been pretty good because I've kept a positive attitude since I've been here and I've met a lot of new people and I like it," said Senior Rachel Jones.

Some new teachers who came from the Twin Rivers District are going through the same thing the kids are.

"I think it helps that we can talk to each other and see a familiar face," said teacher Teresa James.

The biggest change for everyone is the number of students.

"More people in the whole school.  Meeting a bunch more people in the hallways," said Bennett.

It is causing a slight case of overcrowding.

"The main issue that we're having right now is the cafeteria.  Our cafeteria was not built for the number of students," said Walton.

They've made adjustments to the schedule but there is no more room left!  In some classes students aren't taking books home because there aren't enough!  A transition like this can be difficult, but is also a new adventure.  

"I've met a lot of new friends, but then I miss my old friends who don't go here," said Jones.

The other districts that have also received some of the Twin Rivers kids are the Hillcrest School District, Highland School District, Mammoth Springs School District, Pocahontas School District, and the Maynard School District.

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