Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Class Size is Really Important, or Is It?

During all of the 20 years that I have been involved in issues of the Potsdam Central School Board, class size, especially at the elementary level, has been of utmost importance.  Whenever budgets seemed tight and a hint was whispered that there may be more than 20 students in a classroom, there was much hand-wringing and research cited by teachers and administrators, followed by demonstrations of support from parents until the Board of Education members crumbled and added another percent or three to the tax levy.  So why should we believe that administration is truly planning to start classes in September with 25 or 30 students in 7 of the 9 grades in the elementary and middle school?  I haven't seen any publicity or mention in Board minutes that the district's philosophy has been revised.  How could they even begin to justify that scenario when there are barely any classes in the high school with more than 20 students and more than 30 sections in various subject areas with 12 or fewer students projected?

Let's not fall for the obvious solution.  Since it seems likely that the State budget situation is going to be difficult for a few more years, we should expect the district to be more creative.  What is the bigger picture and how can we make use of sound educational methods such as multi-age grouping?  And, we do have that $5.5 million dollars in reserves......... For some reason, it is easy to find the Kindergarten to 8th grade class enrollments for the last five years.  Go to the PCS home page, click on "District Budget" at the side of the page, then go to PreK-8 Enrollment Projections.  To find the High School Enrollments, it is necessary to dig deeper.  Go to the school's home page: , click on Board of Education at top of the school's home page.  Then go to "Committees" and find "Agenda" under Finance.  You will have to pick a year, then a date but it should get you to the agenda for the chosen day.   Scroll down the agenda page and you will see the list of documents which are available.  The Grade 9-12 Courses and Class Sizes information is number 10 on the February 13th agenda.  A five year look at the enrollments for the High School is number 9.

No comments:

Post a Comment