Wednesday, May 05, 2010

School Board & Layoff Update

Received a note in regard to the recent NASD Board meeting. In light of the recent article indicating that Nazareth was working to avoid future layoffs, this was a bit interesting.

Long time readers are well aware that I am not an advocate of all day kindergarten. However, the NASD has been pushing for this for several years. With the 4th and 5th graders moved out of the Elem buildings and into the NAIS, there is room to expand the K program to all day.

Expanding all day K will eliminate mid-day bus runs, but will double the number of teachers and aides. At a time when we are facing a budget short-fall, and we are concerned about laying off teachers, adding new ones and increasing costs to implement all-day K, which is not proven to be helpful (and the RAND study suggests over time is slightly detrimental) for students, doesn’t seem like a good decision.

To hold costs, instead of hiring new teachers, the plan discussed at the meeting as relayed to me, is to move 2nd and 3rd grade teachers down to the new K positions. This will increase class size in these grades from 20 to about 23-24.

I think this clearly shows that IF we were to carefully evaluate and consider class size, class offerings (upper grades), removal of block scheduling, and non-implementation of all day K, we’d find that there are ways to save money by reducing the number of teachers required (this could be through attrition, not necessary lay-offs over time) that would not negatively impact learning. The same could surely be said for the admin.

Instead, what I expect (and the NASD and teachers’ Union probably does too) is that a large number of parents will both want all day k (saves day care costs and sounds like it will be beneficial) and smaller class sizes. Once the complaints roll in, the NASD will say they were listening to the will of the people, and they’ll hire new teachers out of ‘necessity’.

Posted via email from Ross Nunamaker

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