Friday, April 07, 2017

On Option Schools and Class Sizes

I listened to Superintendent Nyland's explanation at last Wednesday's Board meeting of why class sizes may be larger at Option schools than neighborhood schools.

I also read this letter from the School Board office:

Thank you for the email regarding maintaining small classroom ratios. 

As a District, our priority is to provide the best learning environment for all of our students. This commitment requires quality teaching staff and support for all of our schools. 

As we planned for potential funding shortfalls (we continue to have a $50M shortfall) and eventual restoration of proposed cuts, maintaining this goal is at the forefront of the Board’s priorities. 

Please review the letter from Dr. Nyland from March 23 which provides an update on the Phase 1 restoration plan. This plan, as approved by the Board, returns 175 teaching and support positions to our schools and will allow for us to maintain the required teacher to student ratios across our classrooms. 

All option schools are receiving the same funding levels as all of our other attendance area schools.  Our expectation is that the schools will use the increased staffing allocation to reduce K-3 class sizes. 

 However, this decision is made at each school by the BLT and principal.  Principals should communicate the decision with families and provide a rationale. 

 Again, thank you for advocating for the best learning environments for your child and your patience and understanding as we navigate the budgeting process. Please continue to contact our office or the Budget Department if you have any further questions regarding proposed cuts and funding restoration.
It appears to me that Option schools have the ability to control their class sizes but that decision is largely the domain - wait for it - of principals.  

If anyone at an Option school who had a meeting with their BLT and principal on this subject, please chime in.  I haven't heard of that happening.

I believe that - yet again - this is one more case of principals being given a lot of leeway and somehow the district and the principals want to point the finger at each other (which leaves parents nowhere).  

I feel for Option school parents but you do understand that being an Option school means that you are not necessarily going to be playing by the same rules as neighborhood schools.  This may be one (unadvertised) trade-off.  Personally, I wouldn't have thought Option schools would have the same class sizes as neighborhood schools (except for I-1351 but that's going away).  

Whatever comes from McCleary, though, that should be the class size for K-3 for all schools.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe I am missing something, but it does seem as if it is the same as neighborhood schools. The hard part is that you end up with lots of splits or the upper grades end up with lots of kids. I assume this the same as option schools. I could see that looping might be hard if you have lots of splits.
Not perfect