Thursday, September 6, 2007
GRANDVIEW - The Grandview School District and its teachers are negotiating a contract, and one of the issues being discussed is class size.
The district has I-728 funds for class size reductions. According to Superintendent Kevin Chase, "I-728 funds are used to reduce class sizes and to provide professional development for staff members."
He said the district's contract with the teacher's union was negotiated at a maximum of 168 students per teacher per day. "Grandview High School has seven periods in a day and teachers are in the classroom six periods, averaging the 168 student maximum to 28 students per period," Chase said.
He said some periods may have slightly more than 30 students. The teacher's union cited some teachers have had 32 students in a class at the high school, in a recent Daily Sun News article.
Chase said that though a teacher may have 30 or more students in one period, they will have fewer than the 28 student average in another period because the maximum is set in the contract that was previously negotiated.
"Last year, out of 180 teachers, 11 said they were over the negotiated limit," said Chase, citing that number as a low ratio.
However, the issue at Grandview Middle School becomes complicated with the recent change in the number of periods offered in a day. "The middle school changed from a seven-period day to a six-period day, allowing an average of 33 students per period in a classroom," Chase stated. He added that because the students who actually are seen per day in a teacher's class is closer to 140, the average is in the mid-20s during many of the classroom periods.
"Some periods may have more students than others," he summarized.
Chase stated that the agreed upon 168 students per day is a good bargain because it allows flexibility during the day. "Some periods can have higher numbers, while other periods have lower numbers," he said.
"We aren't out of line with other school districts," Chase added.
As to the issue of space needed for classrooms at Grandview High School, Chase said the district is currently bringing in portables to accommodate the growing student population.
Given a break-down of the I-728 funding, the school district spends 57 percent of its $1,401,962 on professional development, including additional days for teachers. Chase said another 13 percent is spent in providing a pre-school program for residents within the school district, 10 percent is utilized for reading specialists and tutors and 6 percent (slightly more than $84,000) is used for class size reduction at the high school and middle school.
Chase said that he felt confident regarding class size averages in the Grandview School District, citing, "Class sizes are good in Grandview."