Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Two Steps Forward...

...three steps back.

For the last 5-7 years, this district has had a major focus on "new small schools."  These small schools were going to totally transform the district (and may have done that if they had been given a chance) by offering smaller classes and schools with more parent-teacher-child interactions, less room to fall through the cracks, more ability and special programs to meet students' needs, etc.  Sometimes it felt like small schools were being pushed and rewarded at the expense of us larger, more traditional schools.  It was hard to hear the district administrators say that they didn't have money for whatever particular program/supplies we needed when I knew they were spending a lot more to start these new small schools.  Many larger schools were divided up into small schools since that was considered to be the best model.

Now the district has decided that small schools cost too much money.

According to staff’s calculations, the minimum number of students needed for a school to “break even” on its fixed costs and teacher salaries is 317 for elementary schools, 476 for middle schools and 602 for high schools. And that’s assuming average class sizes are 27, 32 and 32, which is about six students larger than the current averages.

Twenty-nine of the district’s elementary schools (48 percent), 12 of its middle schools (71 percent) and 15 of its high schools (83 percent) are smaller than that — in some cases, by design.

All that time, planning, and money spent on making small schools the focus of the district and now we're going to un-small them?  Many of them haven't even been in existence long enough to give them a fair trial.



Anonymous said...

I feel your pain, however the cost of "break even" has always been what it is. And I have a hard time buying the fact that no one had a clue.

What they did was experiment at the expense of our children and our community. The academic success of students leaving OUSD has been in a 40 year decline. I know because I went to OPS forty years ago, coming from the midwest in middle school. My son who is in his thirties also attended OPS for elementary school.

I feel your pain.

B said...

Yeah, I know they have to balance the budget, but it feels like a little forward thinking would have stopped them from spending all this money on something they just were going to undo...