September 16, 2015 UPDATE
The Nampa School District took the following steps to help address extremely large class sizes in our elementary schools this fall.
Used state remediation and other funds to hire seven teachers;
Reassigned a teacher from a low-enrollment grade level to reduce an overcrowded grade level at a different school;
Allocated $100,000 from an emergency levy funds to hire aides to support teachers in over crowded classrooms.
August 23, 2015
I’ve really enjoyed visiting schools and seeing the TERRIFIC start you have created for kids. While noticing great work, I’ve also noticed some large class sizes, in spite of the fact that our current staffing includes 25 positions funded by the supplemental levy as promised to our patrons. I would like you to know what we are doing.
Based on projected enrollment, we funded and staffed every school to specific student:teacher ratios.
- At the elementary, Kindergarten was staffed at 20:1, 1st at 22:1, 2nd at 23:1, 3rd at 25:1, and 4/5 at 27:1. These are projected AVERAGE class sizes.
- The middle school staffing ratio was 24:1 while high school was 26:1. At the secondary, these are not class size. Since some classroom teachers are on prep each period, class sizes are significantly higher that staffing ratios.
Schools are reporting attendance, class by class, to the district office every day this week and next. We are identifying the most severe class size problems, and are preparing to respond. It is my intention to have a plan in place by the end of next week. Here are the actions we will consider:
- Apply state remediation money to hire teachers where the problem is most severe.
- Move teachers from schools/grades where class sizes are very small to places where they are too large. We know this is difficult, initially, but we’ve done this every year and the kids (and adults) always adjust quickly.
- If needed, ask the Board of Trustee to release emergency contingency funding to hire teachers to address severe problems not yet solved.
If we have a confirmed overall enrollment higher than our projected and budget enrollment, I will take two actions:
- Add teachers to get the district to the average staffing ratios listed above. For example, if we have 100 more kids than in the budget, we can increase our staffing by about four teachers because we are confident our state funding will increase at least that much.
- Ask the Board of Trustees to approve an “emergency levy.” This levy allows the district to collect some one-time revenue to address unanticipated growth in overall student attendance.
We are tracking/confirming. We will respond as fast as we can, but we cannot put ourselves in a deficit spending situation. We all know the result of doing that.
Thank you again for the great start, and thank you for your patience and understanding.
David Peterson, Superintendent
Nampa School District