The average class size in grades 1-4 at the Wellington Elementary School has reached 25. Three classrooms have 26 students. As I’ve said before, redistricting might be one means of leveling elementary class sizes among the four schools; but throughout the district class sizes are approaching that 25 student average. For right now, we have frozen enrollments at the Wellington so that any new elementary students will be redirected to one of the other three elementary schools with smaller grade-level classes.
At the Chenery Middle School and Belmont High School we have done our best to level class sizes. The long-range solution is to determine what options for reducing class sizes are possible within the limits of resources. However, no option is likely to prove revenue-neutral. Each additional teacher and classroom averages an increase to the budget of $100,000 to $120,000 (salaries, benefits, supplies, and equipment). Additionally, any expansion of classroom space requires the space to expand as well.
As we approach planning for the FY 2014 budget, we will necessarily be cognizant of the need to maintain reasonable class sizes. To do so rationally will also require a serious projection of demographic trends and reliable predictions about student population growth.