Fayette schools seek waiver on class size

Tue, 08/25/2009 - 4:02pm
By: Ben Nelms

More state cuts in local funding could mean as many as 5 more students per classroom

Fayette school classes could each get five students larger if the state slashes more funding later this year.

The Georgia Department of Education in a recent session with school systems across the state has suggested that they consider applying for certain waivers in case additional state budget cuts are made.

The Fayette County Board of Education took that suggestion and agreed in a Monday called meeting to request waivers that, if approved, could add up to five additional students per classroom if additional budget cuts become reality and the school system opts to use the waivers.

The school board said it would review the rules and monitor the impact that further state budget cuts would have on the need to have flexibility in those areas. If necessary the board will use the waivers to help offset future cuts when appropriate.

Dr. Reanee Ellis, director of human resources, told board members the waivers represented a worst case scenario.

“We’re only requesting the waiver with an abundance of caution. We don’t have any intention of putting five more students in a classroom,” Ellis said. “We’re not trying to change our philosophical position. We just don’t know what is going to happen in the second half of the year.”

DOE has encouraged school districts to apply for the waivers for the current school year, according to information on the school system website. Superintendent John DeCotis at the meeting said that if granted, local school systems would have the flexibility, if needed, to deal with additional state budget cuts that could be made later in the school year.

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Submitted by totellthetruth on Tue, 08/25/2009 - 9:58pm.

boy that would have come in handy. Just think, a rainy day fund for the kids, teachers and taxpayers would have been a nice little umbrella to shield us from the inclement weather our school system is in.That would have saved jobs and kept class sizes down. What is amazing, is that no one cares. The school system's class clowns are still running the show and have yet to implement a means for establishing a reserve fund. It is just amazing that parents are so apathetic when it comes to the financial viability of the school system that is responsible for their kids' education. Thank goodness our teachers truly love what they do for the kids; there is no other reason for them to stay in Fayette County. They are true professionals
that desrve better than a 4.5% pay cut and state mandated furloughs!
Just unbelievable....

Submitted by g8trgrl on Tue, 08/25/2009 - 5:03pm.

I have been very surprised at how the parents of kindergartners in this county have been so quiet with the systematic removal of a class at each elementary school. Human resources for Fayette County Board of Educations has decided the kindergartners can all be in big classes. It just happened at Peeples Elem, it has already happened at Minter & Kedron Elem. Why aren't these parents up in arms? It is the beginning of the end of good schools here in our county as we squeeze more kids into each classroom. Now the board wants permission to go 5 over? Wow! This county has always been known for small class room sizes - I would say that's over now. Week 3 of school and the little 5 year - olds have to say goodbye to their teacher & start over.

Submitted by heatjam on Tue, 08/25/2009 - 5:12pm.

Unfortunately it makes sense. 15 kids in a class with a teacher and a parapro is nice but really not economical in this day & time. For once they did the right thing. It;s too bad that they didn't do it before the year started, but I;m sure that the children will be just fine!!

Submitted by g8trgrl on Tue, 08/25/2009 - 6:09pm.

The thing is - the teachers are still in the building - just doing "odd" type jobs now. Not much of a savings imo.

Submitted by heatjam on Tue, 08/25/2009 - 8:53pm.

At Minter the Kindergarten teacher was moved to 4th grade and they opened a new 4th grade class this week. So the net result is same # of classes & Teachers. This helped relieve the overcrowded 4th grade classes...win-win for all

Submitted by justamom on Wed, 08/26/2009 - 9:35pm.

The new 4th grade class has LESS students than the Kindergarten classes now. The new limits for the classes are acceptable (22 in K with a parapro). That standard is set by the state, but Fayette County has always prided themselves in never reaching those state standard limits. Remember this number of a maximum of 22 in K with a full time parapro is a new number for this year. The state number was lower in previous years and still Fayette County stayed lower so 15-18 in a K class was a norm for these teachers. What is unacceptable is that they are asking for the option of having 27 in a K classroom. The Human Resources director says "We don't have any intention of putting five more students in a classroom". At the end of last school year she said we would never reach the new state standards for increased classroom sizes, because that is not Fayette County's philosophy. Well we are at the new state standards now and we are asking for an increase. This will have an impact in many areas in our county. This is one of the first questions people ask when they are moving to the metro Atlanta area - "What are the class sizes for your schools?". I realize we are in an economic crisis in our country and everyone is suffering, but come on people this board has been messing up for a while. It was reported that our Board of Education has the 12th worst budget out of 160(? may have been 170) school systems in the state of GA. I realize the state budget cuts in education are affecting all the school systems and much of this is out of the local school board's control, but it would have helped to have some sort of reserve going into this.

Submitted by g8trgrl on Thu, 08/27/2009 - 6:29am.

If anyone is kidding themselves in believing this county won't go 5 over in class sizes -they have learned nothing in watching what has been happening in Fayette for a while. No intention of going up to the state levels? Then why ask permission to go over? If Fayette gets the ok, I fully expect the class sizes to increase & that WILL have a huge impact on Fayette being a good county known for their schools. We won't be for much longer. I just hope to get my kids out of this county before it is run into the ground!

By the way, now the nurses are being furloughed 3 days! How do ya like them apples??

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