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.