Janesville64°

District may hire teachers; large class sizes cited

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
November 7, 2009
— The Janesville public schools superintendent is asking for about $180,000 to hire more teachers. The request goes to the school board at its meeting Tuesday night.

Karen Schulte said the teachers are needed to reduce the numbers of students in elementary and middle school classrooms that exceed or threaten to exceed the school board’s class-size policy.


The money would come from the Fund 10 balance, which is money set aside for unforeseen emergencies, among other purposes.


Schulte said Friday she wants to hire the teachers as soon as possible.


The teachers hired would be limited-term employees. One would be a fourth-grade teacher at Adams School, which has classrooms of 30 and 31 students. Board policy requires classes at that grade level be no more than 30.


Schulte said the Adams fourth grade exceeded the limit when a student joined the school this week.


Another teacher would go to Van Buren Elementary School’s fifth grade, which has two classrooms of 28 and 29 students each. The limit for fifth grade also is 30. Schulte said Janesville has had classes that size before, but typically classes are smaller.


A third teacher would be split between Edison and Marshall middle schools, where eighth-grade classes are at or over the board policy of 30 for core academic classes.


The rest of the allocation, the equivalent of 0.13 teacher, would increase teaching hours in physical education, music or art.


Edison’s eighth grade has 240 students and eight teachers of core subjects, for an average 30 students per class. At Marshall, 11 teachers are assigned to 333 eighth-graders, for a 30.27 average.


“I believe in order to fulfill the board goals of higher student achievement, teachers need manageable class sizes,” Schulte wrote in a memo to the board.


Schulte went on to say that many students in the large classes have disabilities or are not native English speakers, putting extra demands on teachers.


The Adams fourth grade includes 10 students with a disability and nine English language learners, or 31 percent of the fourth-grade students, Schulte wrote.


Van Buren Elementary School’s fifth grade includes seven students with a disability, or 12 percent of the fifth-graders.


At Edison, 34 eighth-graders have disabilities and 17 are English language learners, or 21 percent of the total.


Marshall Middle School’s eighth grade includes 44 students with a disability and 20 English language learners who combine for 19 percent of the eighth-grade enrollment.


Schulte said she considered shifting resources to handle the large classes, but no scenario was found to be worthwhile.


IF YOU GO

The Janesville School Board meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Educational Services Center, 527 S. Franklin St. The public is invited to speak. Speakers normally are limited to 3 minutes.



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