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Capo Wants to Boost Class Sizes

Already at the state maximum, the district would have to ask the Department of Education for a waiver to go beyond the limits. A hearing to discuss topic will be held April 27.

The is looking to increase class sizes next year in grades four through eight for the next two school years.

To increase class sizes, the district would have to apply for a waiver from the state Department of Education

The board of trustees will hold a hearing at its next meeting, 7 p.m. April 27, during which the public may comment about the prospect of larger classes.

The state regulates class sizes for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Capistrano Unified is already at state-allowed maximums.

A specific proposal will not be presented at the public meeting, said district spokesman Marcus Walton. “It is a negotiated item” that will be hammered out between the board’s labor negotiator and representatives from the teachers union, the Capistrano Unified Education Association, he said.

The teachers’ current contract calls for the following students-to-teacher ratios throughout the grades:

  • Kindergarten: 30.5 students to 1 teacher
  • Grades 1-5:  31.5 students to 1 teacher
  • Grades 6-8: 32.5 students to 1 teacher
  • Grades 9-12: 34.5 students to 1 teacher 

The district rounds up the .5 student, Walton said.

At the April 11 board meeting, the trustees approved approaching the teachers union to reopen discussions on two items in their current contract: wages and class sizes. In addition, the union has asked to reopen talks regarding its members' health and welfare benefits.

The district is preparing its 2011-12 budget based on a deficit. In addition, the district needs cut to balance the books.

The district is already behind its own budget timeline the board approved on Feb 8. At its first April meeting, the board was supposed to have heard an update on the budget’s development, review the risks in light of multi-year projections and assumptions, refine potential budget reductions and give feedback to staff. None of this was on the agenda.

In addition, the district had originally scheduled three community forums to invite public input into the budgeting process. The meetings were originally scheduled for March 14, March 21 and March 28. Those meetings have since been reduced to one meeting and rescheduled twice. It’s now planned for May 5.

“The budget will return to the agenda when staff has new information to report,” Walton said when asked why the district is behind its self-imposed timeline. “The budget situation is constantly in flux.”

shelly April 24, 2011 at 03:03 PM
Capo Mom, "lack of performance" ? Why would you place your children in CUSD schools if you believe that the teachers are not doing a good job? How long have your children been in these schools where teachers' performances are lacking? If this is not your experience then why state it? CUEA is made up of individual teachers. Teachers everywhere in our nation are made out to be the bad guy. If you did not notice the education budget has been cut everywhere. There is less coming in. Teachers did not reduce the amount of revenue coming in or cause the economy to tank. But they, who are not rich and are middle income workers, are receiving the blame because others do not want to bear the burden or the financial pain of helping to fix the education budget crisis. Teachers are middle income workers and subject to all the same taxes and high gas prices as everyone else. If we keep making teachers out to be the bad guys who must bear the burden of the bad choices of others (banks, big companies, politicians, etc.) then the negativity, lack of respect for the teaching profession, and decreased household income (most teachers have families or will have families) will cause many teachers and teacher candidates to go into other fields. It will not matter if your child is in public school, charter public school or private because the quality of teachers will go down. Is this really good for the future of our district or our country?
Lori Walker April 24, 2011 at 10:27 PM
Shelly, I do not know who you are but, I do want to say, "Thank you" so much for your support of teachers and public school. I have been reading your comments for quite awhile and I like what you have to say! :-)
Capo Parent April 26, 2011 at 06:28 PM
You're funny, but not very knowledgable. Asserting that Reardon could resolve whether or not the restoration language was triggered and the board's Brown Act violations through the channels is naive at best and a fraud at worst. Letters were written on his behalf to CUSD and the board. The response was basically stick it up yours. So, how was Reardon suppose to resolve the issues through the channels (whatever the heck that is suppose to mean)? Since you imply it could have been done, explain how it could have been done. (everyone hugs and sings cum by ya) CUEA is willing to let class sizes rise as large as possible if it results in an increase in the compensation packages of its members. That's why class sizes are already at the max in CUSD. At my son's HS, the average class size is 37. Once CUSD & CUEA are finished, all kids in CUSD will be the subject of the "sardine" classroom, i.e. pack'em in until you can't pack any more in.
Pam Sunderman April 26, 2011 at 06:51 PM
Why couldn't he have waited? This all happened in about a 2 week time window. Mr. Reardon's letters were basically, "my way or the highway." And his attorney presented his demand for payment immediately. It makes one wonder whether the monies they received in previous lawsuits (hundreds of thousands of dollars) may have run out and they are seeking new sources of revenue. Mr. Reardon's track record speaks for itself. CUEA is not seeking higher class sizes...they never have. Historically they have bargained for lower class sizes...even giving pay concessions for smaller classes. The reason class sizes are getting bigger is that the revenues to school districts (all of them) have continued to shrink. It is happening all over the state. And now we have Mr. Reardon looking for money for himself and his attorneys instead of looking for solutions. You know very little about Brown Act violations if you think that they are always committed deliberately. The law was passed to protect public access to government bodies. It is so difficult to follow that even the experts can't always agree on whether it has been violated. More lawsuits are not the answer. The answer is to train the stakeholders in the intricacies of the law and work together to ensure public access. I believe this board is doing its best to do both. Why can't Mr. Reardon be part of that process if he is so concerned?
Capo Dad May 05, 2011 at 06:14 PM
Lori, What's not to like in blind one-sided loyalty to the union position? Especially when repeated ad naseum?

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