Smaller elementary Spanish classes could be a reality next school year, parents said after a Wednesday night meeting.
Parents met with Steamboat Springs Superintendent Donna Howell to discuss having smaller classes and said the meeting was positive. Howell was at a retreat Thursday and was not available for comment.
"I think everyone in the end ... is going to get what they want," said Laurie Good, treasurer of the Strawberry Park Parent Teacher Information Committee.
Recently, parents have asked for the smaller classes, saying they have raised enough money to pay for the smaller classes and that smaller classes would provide a more effective learning environment.
Howell, however, has said that the extra funds might be better spent to create an organized K-12 Spanish program.
Good said those issues were discussed Wednesday and that parents stressed they will help raise funds, if necessary, to create such a program.
The outcome of the meeting, Good said, was the understanding that Howell will talk with the elementary Spanish teacher and determine how much additional time she would need to make smaller classes a reality.
Good said the additional teacher time would be used at Strawberry Park Elementary School, where one Spanish class was projected to have 46 students next year. At that school, two fifth-grade classes are combined for the Spanish class, and teachers help out during the lessons to keep students in line.
At Soda Creek Elementary School, the largest class size is expected to be 22 students.
The elementary Spanish teacher works 2 1/2 days a week, Good said. For smaller classes, the teacher's time could increase to between three and four days a week.
Parents raised more than $30,000 for the Spanish program and should generate between $10,000 and $12,000 next year from grocery card sales. That means they have more than $40,000 to spend on the program, Good said.
The school district had budgeted $29,000. The cost of having smaller classes is not yet known. Good said her own calculations indicated that increasing the teacher's time to four days would bring the total cost to about $41,000.
"I don't think funding, at this point, is an issue," she said.
Good also said that previous concerns that there were discrepancies in how much money was being spent on the program really were just miscommunications. The funds have been budgeted and spent accurately, she said.