Saturday, May 27, 2006

Class size, tax promises bother District 93 parents

The article below appeared on Students First and in the Daily Herald. . The first mistake the parents made was trusting the school district and voting yes for the referendum. The following quote is classic and speaks volumes as to how this and most districts pass referenda. "Superintendent Hank Gmitro said the district had merely warned of class sizes increasing if the tax increase failed." They used fear and threats to pass the referenda and the voters of District 93 fell for it.

Many school districts will be back in November to try to pass referenda. Will you vote yes based on fear and threats or will you hold the people to educate and protect our children accountable for their actions.

Parents you need to do research. Pass grade 3 class size does not matter. What does matter is the quality of the teacher and parental involvement. See our resources page for information to read about class size.

Would you rather have your child in a classroom of 20 with an average to poor teacher or classroom of 30 - 35 with a good to great teacher? Which is more efficient and economical? We would take a classroom of 30-35 any day for our daughter. The fewer the teachers in a school the more likely you will have better teachers.

Class size, tax promises bother District 93 parents


By Jack Komperda

Daily Herald

Several parents of third-graders at Carol Stream's Heritage Lakes Elementary are upset because their children's class sizes will rise by at least six students come next fall.

The parents have met several times with school administrators to persuade them to lower the class sections from the current 24-student average.

Though school officials refute it, the parents say the unexpected spike is akin to a broken campaign promise Carol Stream Elementary District 93 administrators made shortly before a successful 2004 tax-hike referendum.

"One of the things they promised during the referendum was smaller class sizes," said parent Ginny Furioso. "Now we're being told the class sizes can increase. Such a sudden jump for these kids … it's an extreme shock."

Superintendent Hank Gmitro said the district had merely warned of class sizes increasing if the tax increase failed.

He said the districtwide average of 21 students per class will remain, though some classes will be larger. He pointed out it's an inexact science since the district can't control the number of students who show up.

"I'm the one who shared the referendum information (before the vote)," he said. "What I talked about was maintaining class sizes. From my perspective, we've kept our commitment."

Heritage Lakes isn't the only district school with some class sections that will surpass the average, according to district enrollment projections.

Six grade levels across the district's six elementary schools will see, on average, spikes of four or more students in classroom sections next fall.

Overall, administrators also identified nine cases at all six elementary buildings in which class sizes in an entire grade level could remain above 21 students.

"It's a moving target," Gmitro said. "Five to seven years ago, we had class sizes of 28 to 30 students. We have none of that size now."

Indeed, the largest class size projections are expected at Carol Stream Elementary, where the incoming fourth-graders will have class two sizes of about 25 and 26 students. Those students are now split into three third-grade sections averaging 17 students.

Next year's third-graders will also have larger classes. The students are projected to have one less section with classes of 22 and 23 students.

At Elsie Johnson Elementary School in Hanover Park, next year's third-grade classes will have 23 and 24 students, up more than six from the current second-grade average of 17 students.

And at Cloverdale Elementary School in Carol Stream, the incoming fifth-graders will see their class sizes jump from 20 students to about 24 per class.

That spike, though, is offset by next year's third-grade class sections, whose average class size is expected to fall from about 26 to 20 students each.

"Class sizes are always a sore point with parents," said Maria Balas, a PTA member and Cloverdale parent. "From other parents I've talked to, the ideal comfort level would be a class size of 24."

Gmitro said he expects hundreds of children will move in or out of the district by registration time in August. Some class-size averages could change depending on where those population shifts occur.

Mary Lynn Campagna, another parent of a Heritage Lakes third-grader, said she hopes more children show up in her child's grade so the district would ad a section.

"I only hope more kids move in to give us another teacher," she said. "At that point, what would they do?"

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