At least 17 teaching jobs are on the chopping block in the Ken-Ton School District in the 2013-14 school year, with most of the anticipated cuts related to the upcoming closure of Jefferson Elementary School.
Staffing projections were presented at this week’s School Board meeting by Stephen A. Bovino, assistant superintendent for human resources. Based on current enrollment and projections, among other things, the numbers are subject to change as work continues on next school year’s budget.
“At the present time, we don’t anticipate any change in programming,” Bovino said.
The closing of Jefferson School this year will result in the loss of 23.1 full-time-equivalent positions. But some of those teachers will land at Edison, Franklin, Hoover and Lindbergh elementary schools, which are picking up Jefferson’s students.
According to Bovino’s projections for elementary school staff, Edison’s will increase by four, Franklin’s by three and Lindbergh’s by one. Hoover’s would drop by one. The districtwide reduction for elementary school staff stands at 14.1 positions.
Meanwhile, middle school staffing would increase by one special-education position each at Franklin and Kenmore middle schools.
At the high school level, declining enrollment at Kenmore East translates into a loss of 6.4 positions. A projected enrollment increase of five students at Kenmore West has staffing increasing by 1.2, for a net loss of 5.2 positions.
Tuesday night, the School Board was asked to reconsider its class-size guidelines, on which staffing is based.
“I worry that we are producing lab rats” who are able to follow a task but unable to think critically, said Robyn Brydalski, who teaches third grade at Jefferson Elementary. “I feel that increased class sizes will adversely affect students’ ability to be successful.”
Under current guidelines, elementary class sizes range from 22 to 24 for kindergarten through second grade; 24 to 26 for grades 3 and 4; and 25 to 27 for fifth grade. The range is 26 to 28 for middle school, and 27 to 29 for high school.
Peter C. Stuhlmiller, president of the Kenmore Teachers Association, voiced similar concerns. “We are hoping that the Board of Education will take a look at its current guidelines,” he said – or at least at the waivers granted for exceeding the guidelines.
“We are really concerned about the high class sizes,” he said after the meeting. “For the kiddos in those classes, it becomes a huge burden for instruction and assessment.”
At Holmes Elementary, he said, the average class size for fourth grade is 22, but two of the classes have 27 students each.