Board of Education decides to maintain class sizes

Student-teacher ratio will remain at 26:1 for K-3

The San Ramon Valley Unified School District's Board of Education unanimously approved a recommendation to maintain existing class sizes in kindergarten through third grade levels, while lowering class size in ninth grade English and math classes. The decision came after much speculation that student-teacher ratios would increase.

"I am very pleased that we are able to avoid increasing class sizes for the coming year and that our board members agreed that this is the best decision for students and teachers," said Superintendent Steven Enoch.

Class size in the K-3 grades will remain at 26 students while the number of students in freshman English and math classes will decrease from 28 to 26. The recommendation from the district was made based on better-than-projected state revenues, continuing enrollment growth and financial reserves.

"What we're being advised is that what was projected to be a $330 per student budget reduction is now projected to be $26," said Community Relations Coordinator Terry Koehne."The way we were going to address the $330 is to increase class size, but with this new information our board has decided not to go that direction. We feel that we have enough reserves to get us though at least the next year."

The board's decision has members of the San Ramon Valley Education Association (SRVEA) thrilled, many of whom participated in a week of action to protest budget cuts.

"I can't tell you how excited we are," said Ann Katzburg, SRVEA's vice president and a Hidden Hills Elementary second grade teacher. "Personally, it alleviates a lot of problems for the Dougherty Valley. We were going to have to do combo classes, but what this does for us is brings us back to where we were."

The district targeted kindergarten through third grades and high school freshman because of a state program that called for class size reduction at those levels.

"There's a lot of research that targets those grade levels as real formative ages for students in which class size has the most impact," Koehne said.

For Katzburg, who said working with more children is more challenging in paperwork alone, every reduction helps.

"A lot of people say it's just two more, but you can tell every additional kid. (The reduction) is better for the kids, better for the teachers, better for everyone all around," she said.


Like this comment
Posted by Lili
a resident of Alamo
on Jul 19, 2011 at 8:24 am

Great news!! I am so thrilled to live and work in a community where we value education and can work together to avoid increased class sizes.

Like this comment
Posted by Duffy
a resident of Danville
on Jul 19, 2011 at 8:41 am

Is class size about improving the quality of education for the students or hiring more teachers?

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Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Jul 19, 2011 at 4:21 pm

No teachers that I know of have been hired in our area Duffy - only laid off - so please, go get a clue. Purchase one if necessary.

Like this comment
Posted by Duffy
a resident of Danville
on Jul 20, 2011 at 8:43 am

Derek -
It was a question. You answered it. The snarky comment was unnecessary!

Like this comment
Posted by Dorthy
a resident of Blackhawk
on Jul 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Nice. A better student/teacher ratio for applying the "5 C's of 21st century learning":
critical thinking(it is soooo interesting when second graders analyze transformational grammar), communication(content- nothing; presentation- everything), creativity(writers, scientists, artists create that stuff out of air- no substantial/prior knowledge base necessary), curiosity(passively implemented?), and collaboration(it is easier and quicker to evaluate a group project than hold individuals accountable.)

And. Explanation, please. Wasn't the past principal of MVHS criticized for how money was allocated? Am I to understand from the technology post that money is being spent from one silo(bonds) on the 20th(yes, 20th) century technology for the various schools so that money from energy savings may be channeled to the general fund?

Like this comment
Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Jul 20, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Putting aside the question of whether class-size reduction is more for the students, or for the teachers/union, I am still happy to see that class size is staying the same for next year, and even declining a bit for freshmen English and math classes.

What I would like to see, however, as a follow-up, is a comparison of the pink-slip notices that were passed out last March (as warnings of potential lay-offs), versus the actual actions taken for this Fall. Basically a simple table, showing:

- teachers on-roll at end of the 2010-2011 school year (June 2011)
- number of pink-slips issued in March 2011 (or whenever they get issued in the Spring, as required by law)
- actual number of teachers laid off for the start of the 2011-2012 school year (could also include retirements and other voluntary departures)
- teachers on-roll as of September, 2011

This could also be extended to include administration headcount and other staff.

I understand that state law and union collective bargaining agreements require the district to issue pink slips in the Spring, to anyone who MIGHT be laid off by the Fall. But I also think that the number of pink slips issued is always MUCH larger than actual lay-offs, and in fact there may not be any lay-offs in most years. So it becomes mostly a stunt for garnering public support for more taxes.

This information should be published yearly - it's pretty basic, and as both taxpayers and residents of the district, we should have this info at our disposal.

Like this comment
Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Jul 20, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Brief adder - I should also have included "new hires" in my requested table of school district headcount changes.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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