Monday, August 07, 2006

Parents at Neubert decry class sizes in District 300

The below article appeared in the Northwest Herald. We told the voters of District 300 they were lying to the voters and many did not listen. We told you this was for the teachers and the administrators and not the kids. Again, yes voters did not listen. We unlike you are not surprised. Maybe if the teachers were teaching a full day of classes instead of having 1 - 4 free periods including lunch free, class sizes could be smaller. Darlene Warner states that teacher quality does matter and they have fine teachers. Yet another worthless statement. Tenure prevents schools from getting rid of poor teachers. Each year a school can not go out and hire the best and the brightest because of tenure. Also the legislation that unions have lobbied for limits public schools from hiring the best possible teachers for students. Good teachers would not have used their students as political pawns last spring and pressured them into pressuring their parents into supporting this money pit of a referendum.

Parents at Neubert decry class sizes in District 300

[published on Mon, Aug 7, 2006]
ALGONQUIN – When Karen Kucharski voted for the District 300 tax-rate increase this spring, she thought her elementary-school daughter would be guaranteed smaller classes – or at least no bigger than those from last year.

Kucharski was frustrated to learn that Neubert Elementary School will have one fewer section of first grade this fall.

Her daughter Victoria's class could be as big as 29 students, which is as many as four students more than Neubert's first-grade classes last year.

"I'm being raked over the coals in taxes, and yet it's not even helping class sizes," she said.

Fellow Algonquin mom Maritza Witte, whose daughter, Sarah, also will begin first grade at Neubert this fall, shared the concern.

"I love the teachers, but I'm pretty disappointed," Witte said. "I wouldn't vote for another referendum. I feel somewhat misled."

But John Light, District 300 human resources director, said the district had kept its pledge.

He said that 97 new teachers had been hired this summer with referendum proceeds, which was five more teachers than expected.

"The commitment we made was to keep class sizes at [defined] levels in return for voter support," he said. "But the growth was even more than anyone expected. The class sizes got to the trigger point for adding even more sections."

Several classes have been added at many schools, including two in Neubert's upper grades. The result is an average class size at each school that is down to the average of the 2002-03 school year, Light said.

Part of the misunderstanding might be that some parents thought that the average class size the district promised from the tax increase would be the cap, or maximum number of students per class.

According to the Community Finance Committee report, which the school board followed in seeking the tax increase this spring, "The staffing ratio is an average that is constant; the class size may vary widely." The report was posted before the referendum and remains online at

Officials said the district had fielded "very few" calls from parents upset about class sizes as they registered their children for fall classes. But for those families, there's just one class that matters.

"I only care about the numbers that affect me and my child," Kucharski said. "I feel that first grade is one of the most important years of your education."

Darlene Warner, Neubert principal, said she cut one first-grade section this year to match the number of kindergarten classes last year.

"It's very noteworthy to remember that class size is one variable in the success of a child," she said. "The quality of teachers is important, and we have great teachers."

Cheryl Crates, finance chief, said the district closely followed the Community Finance Committee's year of intensive research on class sizes. The panel advised a cap of 28 students for kindergarten, 30 in first and second grades, and 32 in third to fifth grades, she said.

Principals contact district headquarters daily to monitor classes that are nearing the caps. Crates said District 300 was trying to begin this fall with no more than 29 students in first- through fifth-grade classes, allowing a bit of room for growth during the year.

To view the rest of the article go to Northwest Herald.


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