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Smaller classes in Lodi Unified School District too expensive for now

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Posted: Saturday, February 2, 2013 12:00 am

Creating smaller class sizes is a much talked about idea among teachers in Lodi Unified School District, but district officials say it is too expensive at this time.

Tim Hern, associate superintendent and chief business officer, said the cost of reducing class sizes is higher than most people anticipate.

To reduce every class in Lodi Unified by one student, the district would have to hire 24.8 teachers. The cost of hiring a new teacher is $57,116. Making classes smaller by one student will cost nearly $1.5 million, before adding on other custodial and utility costs associated with opening more classrooms.

The state provides funding for class size reduction, but in recent years districts have the option to sweep those funds into other categories. When the budget crunch hit in 2009, those funds went to help maintain other programs.

When Proposition 30 passed in November, the Lodi Education Association was eager to bring class size reduction back to the bargaining table.

Larger classes sizes don't cause one single issue, said Jeff Johnston, president of the LEA. It becomes a question of logistics.

The workload to correct homework or classwork increases. Teachers have less one-on-one time per child, and classroom management problems escalate more quickly.

In some classes, like physical education or a science course in high school, class size is a question of safety.

In larger classes, Johnston said it is easier for a student to fall behind in coursework or with personal problems.

"If you don't have the opportunity to get to know the child, you miss the time when you can help them the most," he said.

Pinpointing an ideal class size isn't easy, said Johnston.

"I can't tell you we have a target in mind; it's just that the situation needs to be improved," said Johnston.

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  • Mary Ragusa posted at 5:05 pm on Wed, Feb 13, 2013.

    lilragu Posts: 17

    LUSD hides money and has had millions in reserve during this financial crisis. They just choose to spend money on things that are less important than the children...like administrative costs/salaries. Teachers took a big pay cut but not the superintendent or other admins in the ESC!!
    Now we teach elementary with 29-35 children in the room. In some classrooms, a majority of those students speak little to no English. Try as hard as we may and be as educated as we can be (a Masters +) , those little brains cannot learn in the controlled chaos of that many bodies in one room. Some teacher have NO control! With little to no help in the classroom, small reading groups, math groups, etc are out the window. There just is not enough time in the day to get to each and every student. Believe me, most teachers try hard to give it their all, but it is wearing us down...
    LUSD MUST find the money to lower elementary class sizes. I hope the governor mandates it for Title l Schools, so the district will be forced to do it for at least some of our schools!!!!

  • Doug Chaney posted at 6:41 am on Sat, Feb 2, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    Didn't you just basically give the teachers a $2.5 million raise by adding five school days? So why does $1.5 million sound so out of sight? I'll bet you could easily still find that much administrative waste, if not much more, today? Smaller class sizes are a must for LUSD if they want to improve their scores, not a longer school year, in my opinion.



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