Aberdeen School Board considers class size reductions

The Aberdeen School District could make drastic changes to reduce class sizes.

In a release, the district says that the Aberdeen School Board will be looking at various options at their next meeting to come into compliance with newer state standards on class size.

A meeting scheduled for Tuesday, February 20 was cancelled due to snow. No new date has been announced.

Initiative 1351 was approved by voters in 2014. It requires kindergarten through third grade classes to have no more than 15 to 17 students, while grades 4 through 12 are required to have no more than 22 to 25 students.

The initiative would lower class size, but also required additional funding that would assist in compliance with the McCleary decision.

In July, 2015, Governor Jay Inslee delayed implementation on the change for four years.

Tonight, the school board will look at four options that could bring changes before the voter approved changes are required.

  • Purchase portables for the elementary schools;
  • Move all 6th Grades to Miller Junior High School;
  • Band schools by grade level as neighboring districts have done, or
  • Keep the status quo – Do not implement in 2018-2019 and wait for more guidance from the state.

Superintendent Alicia Henderson said the average class size is currently 19 for grades K-3 in the Aberdeen School District.

“We are still waiting for guidance from the state on many of the requirements,” Dr. Henderson said. “Yet we want to do our due diligence and keep the Board and the community informed.”

Henderson says that currently it is not yet clear whether districts can meet the new standard with a districtwide average, or if every K-3 class must be less than 17 students.

The cost of adding classrooms and hiring more teachers must be weighed against the additional revenue the state may send, she explained.

“This is a big jigsaw puzzle for us,” Dr. Henderson said. “And the financial implications could be significant. We don’t have extra classrooms at all of our schools waiting to be filled.”

Adding to the equation is the District’s decision to add three special education classrooms following the recommendations of the Special Education Task Force, she noted.

Dr. Henderson said no decisions have been made and she is looking forward to exploring the options with the Board. “I am confident that we can come up with a fiscally responsible solution that supports the great work taking place on behalf of students in the Aberdeen School District,” she said.

The post Aberdeen School Board considers class size reductions appeared first on KXRO News Radio.

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