Parents encouraged to address class size issue

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The only item on the Steamboat Springs School Board's agenda at tonight's meeting is the oft-debated topic of class size.

Based on requests from School Board member John DeVincentis and others, the board has invited interested parents and will devote an entire meeting to a discussion of optimal class size.

The district's policy, overseen by administrators, calls for an average class size of 19 students per teacher in elementary schools and 18 students per teacher in secondary schools.

DeVincentis said at a Feb. 10 board meeting that he would like to open the issue to parents to better understand their wishes for the district, through a survey and discussion with the board.

"If 50.1 percent of parents came back and said they were happy, I'm done. It amazes me how this district refuses to ask the parents what they think," DeVincentis said.

Superintendent Shalee Cunningham said the issue will be discussed in community input days, and the district is preparing an online survey to administer to families in the district.

Cunningham previously has told the board she is pleased with class sizes in the district.

The administrative policy governing class size was last revised in May 2001. In a report to the board, Cunningham said the schools are meeting the class size goal at all schools.

The board also discussed making the class size policy a board policy.

School Board President Robin Crossan said the current class size policy reflects the desires of parents in the district.

"I think we already have very high standards, and whether it's a board policy or an administrative policy, we know what the community standards are, and they will always be in the forefront. Our results are very high already," she said.

The largest portion of money from the Education Fund Board is used to maintain small class sizes by hiring additional teachers.

Tonight's meeting is scheduled to have one hour of discussion regarding class size.

- To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208

or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com

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