On Monday the DeKalb Board of Education passed the latest annual class size waiver resolution for the 2015-16 school year. Revenues are way up, and assuming no teacher vacancies, the average class size is down across the district. However, the district is asking for a waiver for the same maximum class size we’ve had since 2012 (as seen in chart below) to ensure all funding is captured on FTE count day. While I voted ‘No’, the board passed the resolution.
Dr. Kaveous K. Preston is DeKalb Schools’ Director of Allotments Scheduling & Budgets, and Office of Federal Programs. Dr. Preston has explained How the District Funds the School House and DeKalb Schools Waivers. He is also available on demand to come to your location to speak about these issues.
Dr. Preston answers some follow up questions I had for him on the class size waiver before the board.
The addition of a 2-student buffer on the 2015-2016 class size maximum is necessary to ensure that full funding is captured for all classes. The GaDOE has asked that school systems put all class size maximums and FTE buffers into the single resolution document for 2015-2016.
Question: Does that mean the “2015-2016 Proposed Maximum Class Size” includes the 2-student buffer? If so, Are we effectively lowering maximum class sizes by 2.
Dr. Kaveous Preston: The max class size does include the buffer as required by the state, which is the same from last year so we are not lowering maximum class size by 2. On our class size max chart that we give to the schools the buffer is not included due to the fact that we do not want them using it if at all possible.
Grade 2 –
State Class Size – 21
Waiver – 29
Chart to schools – 27
Question: The “2015-2016 Instructional Allotment Staffing Formula” was used to staff the schoolhouse driving class size. As the year progresses and the size of classes increase when should principals and parents expect to add a new teacher? Even though there is no buffer, will we wait until the “2015-2016 Proposed DCSD Maximum Class Size” is breached to add a new teacher?
Dr. Kaveous Preston: No. We use what we call a 10 student buffer. As soon as the class size average gets within than buffer we contact the principal. We then contact Operations to get a review of the enrollment trends for that specific school. We then make a recommendation to the principal; however the principal has the final decision.
Question: Many schools have no available space to add a teacher. What do principals with enrollment at or over 100% capacity do when they need a new teacher? Where do they put additional teachers and how does that process work?
Dr. Kaveous Preston: This is monitored very closely and principals are notified well before they are within what we call a 10 student buffer of needing a new teacher. If there is a concern with capacity, we contact the operations department and we conduct a school visit to meet with the principal to make immediate and long term plans. This has worked well.
Question: In addition to finding a classroom, adding teachers midyear is fraught with challenges. Parents and students get attached quickly to their teachers, changing teachers midyear is disruptive and there aren’t many unemployed highly qualified teachers.
Dr. Kaveous Preston: We address this by hiring or using extended day in the High Schools at the principals’ autonomy. We give autonomy to the ES and MS on this issue also. I have seen it to where the school wants to hire and where they do not. (In the cases of not, the principal feels that the classes will not grow any further and from my experience they have been correct)
Question: Given there is no buffer, was an analysis performed on how many schools would be affected? What are the results of that analysis?
Dr. Kaveous Preston: The buffer is in the resolution as it was last year. The state just requires that it is all inclusive. The addition of a 2-student buffer on the 2015-2016 class size maximum is necessary to ensure that full funding is captured for all classes. In previous years, this buffer amount was referred to as a class size waiver. The GaDOE has asked that school systems put all class size maximums and FTE buffers into the single resolution document for 2015-2016. This addition will not be used to determine class maximums throughout the year, but will be used only in the event that a class enrollment exceeds the DCSD maximum class size close to the FTE Count Date to ensure that no FTE funding is lost.
Question: If the allotments and max class sizes didn’t change from FY2014 to FY2015, why did we see such a precipitous drop in average class size for all categories from FY2014 to FY2015?
Dr. Kaveous Preston: This was due to better scheduling as you have seen over the past 2 1/2 years. The formula and the max did not change; however the earning did which produced more teachers and a decrease in class size.
|OCGA||MAXIMUM CLASS SIZE|
|K-5 Early Intervention (EIP) self-contained & pull-out classes||14||18||20||20||20||20|
|4-5 (E/LA, Math, Science, Social Studies)||28||32||34||34||34||34|
|6-8 (E/LA, Math, Science, Social Studies)||28||32||34||34||34||34|
|K-3 Fine Arts||33||35||37||37||37||37|
|6-8 Fine Arts & World Language (taught as part of Connections)||33||35||37||37||37||37|
|6-8 World Language for Carnegie Unit credit||32||34||36||36||36||36|
|4-8 (all others)||33||35||38||38||38||38|
|9-12 (E/LA, Math, Science, Social Studies, World Languages)||32||34||36||36||36||36|
|9-12 (all other subjects)||35||37||39||39||39||39|
|Instrumental Music (Band)||100||102||104||104||104||104|
|Physical Education (no para)||40||44||46||46||46||46|
|Physical Education (with para – Elem Schools only)||54||56||58||58||58||58|
|Co-op Supervision (Work Study)||56||58||60||60||60||60|
|K-5 Gifted (Resource)||17||21||23||23||23||23|
|6-8 Gifted (Resource and Advanced Content)||21||25||27||27||27||27|
|9-12 Gifted (Resource and Advanced Content)||21||25||30||30||27||27|
|6-12 Remedial (REP) No para||18||22||27||27||24||24|
|6-12 Remedial (REP) With para||24||28||30||30||30||30|
|Alternative Programs (no para)||18||20||22||22||22||22|
|Alternative Programs (with para)||24||26||28||28||28||28|
|K-3 ESOL/English for Speakers of Other Languages (no para)||11||13||15||15||15||15|
|K-3 ESOL/English for Speakers of Other Languages (with para)||13||15||17||17||17||17|
|4-8 ESOL/English for Speakers of Other Languages (no para)||14||16||18||18||18||18|
|4-8 ESOL/English for Speakers of Other Languages (with para)||15||17||19||19||19||19|
|9-12 ESOL/English for Speakers of Other Languages (no para)||18||20||22||22||22||22|
|9-12 ESOL/English for Speakers of Other Languages (with para)||20||22||24||24||24||24|
*Class sizes for students with disabilities are also proposed to be increased for 2015-2016. Maximums in these areas are determined by student exceptionality and will be provided by the Office of Support Services.