Administration’s New Recommendation Won’t Correct Class Size

Posted: March 22, 2013 in Community Information
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The administration has recommended adding 5 classrooms (four regular and one special education classroom) to McKnight Elementary to address the issue of class size. However, the “new recommendation” does not provide enough spare classrooms to keep class sizes below the district’s guidelines.

Here’s why…

  • If Peebles is closed and 5 classrooms (four regular and one special education classroom) are added to McKnight, only 14 spare classrooms would remain across the district. This is taken from the administration’s presentation on March 20th which shows three spare classrooms at both McKnight and Ingomar and two spare classrooms at each of the four remaining buildings.
  • To keep class sizes below district guidelines, the administration said it would need to add 10-14 elementary sections next year.  This assumes a class size cap of 29 students for intermediate grades and 24 students for primary grades.  If third grade is treated as an intermediate grade, the district would need to add 10 elementary sections.  If third grade is treated as a primary grade (like it is at Pine Richland), the district would need to add 14 elementary sections.
  • Thus, the district would have to utilize all 14 of the spare classrooms available under the new recommendation in order to restore class size to 2009 levels (when the district offered 158 classes to 3,500 students).  This means no spare classrooms would remain if a building is closed.

As previously noted, elementary enrollment has increased over the last several years. The district has allowed class size to go above district guidelines, thereby creating “empty classrooms,” by only offering 145 sections to our 3,560 elementary students.

If a building is closed, the district will be wed to higher class sizes both now and in the future. Given there are several new housing developments across the district, which are projected to add hundreds of elementary students to the system, the “new recommendation” has the same class size issues as the original recommendation.

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Comments
  1. Dana Gibson says:

    McKnight Elementary is already too large. Have you ever seen the hallways at the end of the day while all the students are waiting for pickup? Adding 4 or 5 additional classrooms would seem to be a very unsafe amount of children in that building should there be an emergency.

    • Anita King says:

      I brought safety issues up at the public hearing and am very disappointed that I never got any type of response from any of the administration. Since the terrible shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, our school district should be more concerned about the safety of our children than ever before! If they do, indeed, close Peebles and class sizes increase to their projected figures, how could safety be guaranteed for our children? With that kind of capacity being in our children’s school buildings, if an evacuation would be necessary, the first thing that comes to my mind is the stairwells. Could they hold that many students, if God forbid, something would happen like that in one of our schools? Presently there is practically no parking in the lots already. How would they hold the added cars needed for new students and additional staff? More importantly, how could emergency vehicles get through if they were needed for any reason? I truly believe safety concerns should be evaluated by the administration and approved through the fire marshal. Our children deserve this protection!

  2. Lynn Tonti says:

    Again…who “suddenly” remembered these 5 potential classrooms at MCK? There has to be a bigger plan from the Administration, as several of them have known of this space since the 1990’s. Is it smoke & mirrors in an attempt to make closing Peebles more palatable? Also, remember the MCK project will cost $500,000 as projected now.

    We need our Board to adopt class size limits before any decisions are made and any MCK construction begins. It appears the Admin. wants the Board to vote asap on a 2014/2015 closure of Peebles so construction can begin immediately at MCK. Once the construction starts…we could be wed to a building closure.

    • Anita King says:

      Lynn,
      That +$500,000 cost of finishing those rooms did NOT include heating for that section of the building. So that is a LOW estimate cost.

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