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K4 class sizes named priority

May 15, 2013

Fox Point — Staffing for 4-year-old kindergarten could be increased in the Fox Point-Bayside School District as officials project a larger than initially anticipated incoming group of youngsters in the fall.

At a Finance and Facilities Committee meeting Monday, administrators said 81 students have been enrolled into the program for the 2013-14 school year. The scenario is a positive for the district from an enrollment perspective.

But it does present challenges for staffing, class size limits and classroom configuration within Stormonth Elementary School.

Board policy recommends K4 classes be set at 16 students per section. The district currently has four K4 sections. With projected enrollment figures in motion, class sizes would hover near 20 students per section.

District Administrator Rachel Boechler came before the committee and suggested an additional section be added next year to ensure class sizes remain at the recommended number.

Fox Point-Bayside employs two teachers and two instructional aides within the K4 program. An additional teaching hire, at a 0.5 full-time equivalency rate, would make the five-section proposal possible.

The K4 program is half-day, meaning teachers have two sections of students —one in the morning and another in the afternoon — at Stormonth. The additional teachers would teach one section in either the morning or afternoon.

The committee was in favor of Boechler's suggestion and will bring a favorable recommendation to the full board when it meets next week.

"To me, this seems clear," said board member Alice Lawton, who heads the Finance and Facilities Committee. "This is an opportunity to get kids into our district and have them stay here, versus going elsewhere."

Although Stormonth has the space to accommodate an additional K4 section, Boechler said, having all classes together could be a challenge. Stormonth Principal Dan Westfahl will be looking into logistics if the proposal moves forward.

The projected cost of hiring a part-time K4 teacher is $40,000 with salary and benefits taken into account.

NEXT STEP

WHO: Fox Point-Bayside School Board

WHAT: proposed staffing increase in district's K4 program

WHEN: 7 p.m. May 21

WHERE: Board Room at Stormonth Elementary School, 7301 N. Longacre Road, Fox Point

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