A lack of students enrolled in general courses at one Lodi Unified School District high school caused members of the board of trustees to grow visibly agitated during Tuesday's board meeting.
Dawn Vetica, assistant superintendent of secondary education, and Catherine Pennington, assistant superintendent of elementary education, gave a report on the number of students enrolled in each general and Advanced Placement class offered at Lodi Unified schools.
Most high school general-level classes range in size from about 25 to 30 students, with one course on government at Lodi High School teaching 38 students at once.
There was no information on class sizes in general courses at Bear Creek High School. Vetica said no students signed up for them.
Trustee George Neely saw this as a direct violation of board direction offered two years ago and clarified one year ago.
At the time, all high schools were directed to offer not just AP and college preparatory courses, but general-level courses as well. These were intended as stepping-stone courses to ease students up to grade level where necessary.
"I don't know how much clearer the board direction could have been," said Neely.
Board president Ron Heberle called the situation unbelievable.
"There are terms rattling around in my head that I shouldn't say in public," he said, adding that out of all the students at Bear Creek, somebody should have signed up.
Vetica said Bear Creek students were offered general courses, but no one chose to enroll in them.
Laura Brooke, English teacher and department chair, defended her school, reminding the board that the school began with only college prep or higher courses offered, and they've done well so far.
"Come and take a look at what we do," she said. "Don't create a structure that might not fit all students' needs."
Pennington also reported class sizes in elementary schools.
Classes from kindergarten to third grade range in size from 25 to 31 students. Classes from grades four through six range in size from 26 to 34 students. Some smaller classes exist at smaller schools.
The school year began with 58 combination classes, but that number was reduced to 48 by the end of the first quarter. Classes will not experience much change now, since students are more established with their teachers and routines, said Pennington.