How big will class sizes be?

  • Sarah Koenig<br>Enterprise writer
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:37am

Class sizes in the Shoreline School District will be bigger this year thanks to district budget cuts, but parents anxious about how large their child’s class might be will have to wait a little longer to find out.

“We don’t know what class sizes will look like in September until kids show up,” said Sue Walker, superintendent.

But Walker’s message is clear: Class sizes will grow.

“We had to make reductions, to get the budget under control,” she said. “We won’t pretend class size won’t be larger this year.”

The district has projected enrollments, but sometimes more or less students show up in the first month of school.

“I can think of situations in neighboring districts where they were surprised one way or the other,” Walker said.

If more students show up than expected, the district could add staff. Teachers could also be moved from one school to another.

This week, district officials began checking in with schools to see what their current enrollments are. The process will continue until the beginning of October, when numbers should be final, Walker said.

In the meantime, the district has average staffing ratios for different grade levels.

“I think it’s real important to understand those are staffing ratios, they do not reflect class size,” Walker said. “Class size will change depending on how staff is allocated in departments.”

This year, the student-to-staff ratio for kindergarten classes is 23 students per teacher — no change from 2005-06.

In grades one through four, it’s 24.4 students per teacher, an increase of 2.3 students per teacher. In grades five and six, it’s 27 students, an increase of .7 students per teacher.

In grades seven and eight, the ratio is 22.6 students per teacher, an increase of 2.4 students per teacher. When the middle school schedule is factored in, the average projected class size becomes 31.6.

In grades nine through 12, the ratio is 25.1 to 1, an increase of 2 students per teacher. When the school schedule is factored in, the average projected class-size is 30.1.

Many classes, however, will be larger than average while others will be smaller, Walker said.

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