Our current Board Policy 343.2 can be found here: http://www.mononagrove.org/cms_files/resources/343.2.pdf
and our current Board Rule 343.2 can be found here:
Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Bill Breisch, brought several proposed changes to Board Rule 343.2 to our March 10 School Board meeting. These increases in class size "suggested ranges" and class size goals focus on grades 7-12, and have been prompted by a desire to reduce overload pay to teachers at GDS and MGHS, as well as to reduce MGHS staffing by 2.1 FTE. A decrease in overload pay would realize a $80,000 savings and the 2.1 FTE reduction would be a reduction of $73,500. All seventh and eighth grade class sizes, with the exception of physical education, choir, band and orchestra, would increase from a "class size goal" of 24 to 26, with a "suggested range" of 22-30. Currently most seventh and eighth grade classes have "suggested class size ranges" of 15/16 to 24/26. The "class size goal" at the high school would increase from current goals of between 18 and 24 to a standard 26, again with the exception of phy. ed., band, choir, orchestra and machine courses for tech. ed. The "suggested range" would be 22-30, the same as proposed for GDS class sizes.
So what's the big deal? The district will save money, almost 154K, and changing the goal from 24 to 26 students doesn't sound like the end of the world, right? Right? Hmmm, maybe we should give that another look. I have a couple of concerns with this proposal and much of it has to do with how exactly class sizes are determined.
Board Rule 343.2 Guidelines for Class Size, D. Contingencies:
Grades Seven through Twelve
1. If the average number of students enrolled in a course is one to three above or below the suggested range, the Building Principal shall discuss the situation with the Department Coordinator involved and notify the Superintendent of the numbers. The Superintendent shall resolve the issue and the Board shall be notified.
2. If the average number of students enrolled in a course is four or more above or below the suggested range, the Superintendent shall resolve the issue and the Board shall be notified.
So, according to Board Rule, with the increased class size "suggested range" of 22-30, despite a proposed "class size goal" of 26, a class could potentially reach 34 students before the Superintendent or the Board would be notified. How likely is this scenario? I'm not sure, but I sure don't like the sound of it. I know this is going to fall into the "let's trust our administrators to do their jobs and quit micromanaging already!" category, but I am also concerned about physical sizes of classrooms, sharing lab stations, doubling up on resources, etc.