Bid to Boost School Class Sizes Postponed

Capo Unified holds off on requesting a state waiver to allow more students per teacher this fall.

Two weeks after that could have paved the way for more students per classroom, the now plans to indefinitely postpone any public hearings on the idea.

After learning that the state Board of Education won't consider requests to exceed maximum classroom sizes until September, CUSD announced on its website that the district would spend more time "to determine if there’s a need to increase class size and to explore ways to avoid such an increase."

So, instead of at CUSD's upcoming Board of Trustee meeting, officials will wait. If the district later decides bigger class sizes are needed to cut spending, trustees will hold a public hearing.

"The state board will retroactively approve class size waivers after actual increases have been implemented," so there is no need to for CUSD to immediately request higher student-to-teacher ratios, the district said.

Capo mom May 07, 2012 at 11:40 PM
It makes sense to put this off until after the May revise. Don't expect CUEA capitulate salary levels in favor of keeping class sizes at their current maximums. That won't happen.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) May 08, 2012 at 12:01 AM
You can read it straight from the CUSD website: "It was also learned that the state board will retroactively approve class size waivers after actual increases have been implemented. This flexibility is being provided because of the budget challenges facing California school districts." However, even if it's a rubber stamp, I believe the district will still have hold a public hearing if it is negotiated that class sizes will increase beyond state law maximums come September. There's no urgency at this juncture because there's no July meeting of the state Board of Education. In other words, should the district go this way, it may be a done deal, but you'll still get a chance to comment.
Pam Sunderman May 08, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Bungled? How about oversight? No bias here...
Capo mom May 08, 2012 at 03:15 PM
idk jollygirl oversight seems to minimize the inconvenience to the many people who showed up to address the issue before the supposed vote. Drawing busy community members to the DO for this was certainly a bungle, unless you can't see past your union bias. But then the whole process is a joke. CUEA won't budge, so class sizes ARE going to increase. That result will be rubber stamped up the line. The only decision CUEA's trustees have to make is what facial expression to construct as they do as they are told by CUEA.
randy May 08, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Can the BoTs any way avert this approval? Is there anyone who has in power to block the process of increasing class size for the district? I am concerned about the safety and health of each student in each classroom and their respective teacher. I've observed 55+ students in one classroom at one of the high schools in neighbor district. One PE teacher has had 65 students. It would be going crazy this fall 2012 unless severa solutions will win everyone. Health/safety will eventually dominate the problem if class size growing in small classroom, thinning oxygen, etc. ;-)
OC Mom May 08, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Jane, I absolutely agree with your comments. There's no way that the most senior teachers will sacrifice any of their salaries willingly. Parents need to remember that the teacher's pension is based on their highest salary. Those teachers close to retirement will be kicking back sipping wine in a few years like a familiar poster here at the expense of the kids in CUSD. Interestingly, the younger teachers who know how hard it is to find a job in this economy are willing to work for less if they can keep their jobs. Parents and voters in CUSD need to be educated about the realities of what is taking place. Don't count on your PTA President or other officers in informing you other than what the teachers' union wants you to know. The PTA people I've known are the fundraising arm of the school (which is wonderful,) but they've been used to supplement programs that should have been funded by the State all along if 92% if the CUSD budget wasn't going toward salaries. Wake up parents, stop watching American Idol and Dancing with the Stars, engage in your children's education!
randy May 08, 2012 at 06:02 PM
So true, Jane. Parents are in denial believing their kids are going to be ok. I was at a board mtg when the BoTs rubber stamped in Feb. The mtg was almost empty to my amazement how clueless they were out there. The Board member asked anyone to speak up...then they had no choice but to vote.
randy May 08, 2012 at 06:09 PM
OC Mom, I think the same.
randy May 08, 2012 at 07:09 PM
The link, below, published today regarding current items including class size. Interesting SFUSD has one of the lowest class size average. You can view the embedded charts on the same link to compare. http://toped.svefoundation.org/2012/05/08/schools-under-heavy-stress/#comments
OC Mom May 08, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Thanks Randy for posting this article complete with charts. It's shocking that SFUSD would have smaller class sizes and teachers that are paid less than CUSD while CUSD has more highly paid teachers and larger class sizes! Perhaps we need to lower salaries in CUSD. If the teachers in SFUSD can afford to live on the salaries in the high cost San Franciso Bay area why can't CUSD teachers? Here are the links for the salary comparisons. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/01/26/995141/see-how-well-your-school-district.html?appSession=462906010621029 http://www.sacbee.com/2011/01/26/995141/see-how-well-your-school-district.html?appSession=962290601300818
randy May 08, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Time to man up, Educrats. Democrats in SFUSD have balls for kids to keep class sizes small. Bravo to liberals in SF. Quite a contrary.
Yeparoo May 08, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Rahm’s pension reform: Freeze retiree pay hikes, up retirement age By Fran Spielman and Dave McKinney, May 8, 2012, Chicago Sun Times Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday proposed raising the retirement age by five years for city employees, increasing employees’ pension contributions by 1 percent a year over the next five years and suspending yearly cost-of-living adjustments for retirees for 10 years to help solve the city’s $20 billion pension crisis. Emanuel delivered the bitter pill that union leaders have long anticipated during testimony in Springfield before the Illinois House Personnel and Pension Committee. Emanuel warned legislators that city property taxes could soar by 150 percent and that class sizes at Chicago’s schools would jump to 55 students, on average, unless they pass pension reforms. Let me guess, STURS can keep promising 8% ROI with 60/40 portfolios when interest rates are zero. Sounds like Leman Bros to me.
OC Mom May 09, 2012 at 05:48 AM
Yeparoo, Watch this movie that features Rham Emanual up against the Chicago Teachers Union. The charter schools in that area have made a tremendous difference in students' lives. I'm happy to see Mr. Emanuel break ranks with fellow Democrats and stand up for students and school choice. We need to figure out a way to meet the needs of students while not increasing the tax burden to taxpayers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmnFQkD0Eg0
OC Mom May 09, 2012 at 06:56 AM
Since class size may be increased in CUSD, I believe this article is highly relevant: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/national-rankings/national-rankings Please notice that the majority of top High schools in the Nation are smaller schools with a low student teacher ratio. Class size is very important. Students need individualized attention.
randy May 09, 2012 at 07:16 AM
San Marcos High School...amazing bigger school comparing to other high schools that got a gold medal. San Marcos has gotten a perfect record. Read what commenters say about SMHS.
shelly May 09, 2012 at 09:47 PM
"Five of Capistrano Unified School District’s six comprehensive high schools were named among the top 5 percent in the nation in the U.S.News & World Report annual rankings released today. Tesoro, San Clemente, Capistrano Valley, Dana Hills, and Aliso Niguel high schools all received silver medals and were ranked in the top 1,000 schools nationwide. U.S. News evaluated and ranked nearly 22,000 high schools across the nation. San Juan Hills High School opened in 2007 and did not have enough data to be evaluated in this year’s rankings, which looked at information from the 2009-2010 school year." Good Job CUSD!
mb May 10, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Increasing class size doesn't mean every class will increase in size. Principals, especially in secondary schools, have a lot of flexibility to adjust class size so that core classes remain the same.
randy May 10, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Mb - Elementary schoools?
Pam Sunderman May 10, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Subtle efforts to tie the PTA with the union as some kind of underhanded conspiracy is ridiculous. They have no ties other than a common goal to meet the needs of students.
Pam Sunderman May 10, 2012 at 02:00 AM
OC Mom May 10, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Here's a great blog post by a younger teacher speculating on changes coming to education. Some of these changes could save a lot of money in CUSD. http://mrpatnoudes.blogspot.com/2012/02/here-is-interesting-list-to-think-about.html
mb May 10, 2012 at 04:39 AM
My point is that they can make the adjustments at the secondary level without affecting other classes, including elementary. For example, there may be a remedial reading class with eight students. If they double that class size, they can keep eight elementary classes the same size. None of the options are good, and until CA funds education in an equitable fashion CUSD. CUSD gets $1,000 less per student than the average district in CA. $1,000 times the 50,000 students equals $50 million, and our problems are solved. Contact your reps Walters and Harkey and ask them why they haven't worked to fund our kids education.
Yeparoo May 10, 2012 at 04:42 AM
I would hold off on those “We’re Silver” bumper stickers. Looks like this report has massaged the definition of "best." Seems odd to me that Capo Valley is ahead of Irvine, Garden Grove is ahead of Capo Valley. Looks like they may have cherry picked some feel good stats and mixed them in with actual achievement. I suggest you read the methodology before getting too excited about the conclusions. They need to tighten up their methodology or maybe change their headline to something more irrelevant.
randy May 10, 2012 at 05:00 AM
I did contact them and they said it is all up in the air but believe Capo can fix it even over 160 retirees to be exited this June 30th. Of course they are not too happy about kids being shortchanged. I'm sure Sacto will have to figure out what to do for this early Sept, not after the election in November. From what I understand, Sacto is having its biggest problem than ever and may not meet its financial obligations.
Yeparoo May 10, 2012 at 05:10 AM
mb - Walters and Harkey are member of the Washington Federals, who play the Harlem Globetrotters. We all know the Globetrotters always win and have players like Meadowlark Lemon and Curly. No one knows the players on the Federals because their uniforms suck, the always lose and they can’t dunk. Walters and Harkey are not even a trivia question in Sacramento. They are powerless. Sorta like being a Democrat in Utah. The CTA is in the coalition of constituencies that own Sacramento and occupy EVERY statewide office. The only ones who could lobby for CUSD to get their fair share would be either CTA or CUEA. Walters and Harkey are not members of the coalition that brings home the booty, so they can do nothing to help. Contacting Walters or Harkey is a dead end idea, right up there with baking cookies and asking families to donate 50 cents a day.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) May 10, 2012 at 05:10 AM
The May revise numbers for the upcoming state budget are due out next week.
randy May 10, 2012 at 05:15 AM
Yeparoo - glad this has been brought up. "Feel good," that is. Good point. I m still surprised San Marcos High School's overall result with certain student population.
Pam Sunderman May 10, 2012 at 06:08 AM
All they need is the technology to support them. And keep in mind the half-life of hardware and software. Technology is not cheap and it needs continuous updating...on a yearly basis. Paper may become obsolete but that is more of an ecological savings.
shelly May 10, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Yeparoo, The economy tanked. There is less money coming to schools. Salaries and benefits did not increase during this time. They were cut. If CTA controlled everything why does the eduction budget get cut year after year. Why wouldn't CTA cut other things to maintain their salaries and benefits and members? When teacher jobs are cut the CTA membership goes down and so less money to CTA. Your theory makes no sense. The economy tanked. Edcation budget was cut. People are looking for a scapegoat instead looking to what they can individually do to help the children of their community. Communities who have done well during crisis pull together and find solutions. We all know that teachers, administrators and staff will take a cut. But what part is our responsibility when what we are paying in is not covering what we want and need?
shelly May 10, 2012 at 02:14 PM
CUSD has good schools. Most of us are happy with our neighborhood schools or the schools we have the freedom to choose. We want to work and contribute to a solutions. Most people are not looking to vouchers or charters. We want to keep the choice of our community schools intact. CUSD has over 50,000 children it is responsible for educating. These are the children of our community. These children come from all different demographics. Poor, rich, middle income, immigrants, ESL, GATE, special needs, college educated parents, high school drop out parents, broken homes, etc. These are the children of our community and we, as citizens and members of this community, are all ultimately responsible.


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