KINDERGARTEN students of Kapitan Tomas Monteverde Sr. Central Elementary School (KTMSES) officially start their classes Thursday, June 5, as grade one teachers will take over the vacancies of teacher items for kindergarten.

KTMSES principal Merlinda Roma said a total of eight teachers will handle kindergarten classes - one permanent kinder teacher, five former grade one teachers, and two new grade one teachers under the national item.

From 24 classes, the kindergarten will now have 16 classes - eight in the morning and another eight in the afternoon.

According to Roma, however, the class size will be increased from 30 to 50, as well as for grade one classes. The grade one level has a total of 18 classes, she said.

"From 18 grade one teachers, five of them were pulled out to teach kinder. The class size of the remaining 13 grade one teachers will be increased," Roma told Sun.Star Davao in an interview Wednesday morning.

"Nag increase mi ug (we increased the) number of students to solve the problem," she added.

She said new teachers under national items will be utilized to teach grade one classes and replace the five teachers pulled out for kinder classes.

Roma also said the number of kindergarten students remains at 772.

"Wala name nagdawat ug enrollees kay daghan na kaayo (We stopped accepting enrollees because they are too many)," she said.

Roma said parents of kinder students were already informed about the opening of classes today, Thursday.

"We reached out to them through the broadcast media," she said.

Last Monday, Roma said there was a dire lack of kinder teachers to teach 772 enrollees since the school had only one permanent kinder teacher since the Department of Education (DepEd) had disallowed volunteer teachers.

Only 60 students, 30 pupils for the morning session and another 30 for the afternoon, had their classes under the lone kinder teacher Mae Bernales while the rest of the 700 students had no teachers.

DepEd 11 spokesperson Jenielito "Dodong" Atillo, earlier said KTMSES was categorized as one of the three "highly-congested schools" in Davao City in terms of number of enrollees and shifting of classes. [Read related story here]

The two other schools are Magallanes Elementary School and Sta. Ana National High School.

As of Monday, KTMSES has more than 4,800 students from kindergarten to grade six.

Atillo said KTMSES has a huge number of students because some parents perceive it as a semi-private school, which it is not.