Kindergarten through eighth grade in the Hermosa school will have 217 students this year and enrollment keeps growing at about 5 percent a year, according to Custer School District superintendent Mark Naugle.
Naugle was the featured speaker at the Sept. 10 Custer Rotary Club noon meeting. He told Rotary members there is a definite need for a new elementary school in Hermosa.
“We’re looking into purchasing property there for additional school use,” Naugle said. “We’re running out of room. We have fourth and fifth graders in a modular,” he said.
Naugle estimated there will be between 920-930 students in the school district this year, which is the highest number since he has been superintendent.
“It has put some strain on us with being able to find enough computers, for instance,” he said.
There are 56 new students in the high school this year with 20 of them coming from out of state, according to the superintendent.
“We have great kids and a great staff in the Custer School District,” Naugle said.
He talked briefly about the district adopting the TeamMates adult mentoring program started in Nebraska 27 years ago by former Cornhusker football coach Tom Osborne and his wife, Nancy.
An advisory board has been formed and will be looking for qualified mentors for third to seventh graders in the district who would meet in the school for an hour a week with a student.
The program improves discipline, grades and attendance for its participants, he said.
Additional private funding of about $4,500 is needed, but “we are in,” Naugle said.
Black Hills Energy has pledged $7,500 toward the program’s initial $15,000 cost and a number of other private donors have contributed funds.