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Teachers rehired as class sizes increase

Sophia Fabrizio and her mother Theresa Fabrizio meet the teacher, Mrs. Maras, left, at Clarkston Elementary’s “Meet your teacher,” Sept. 2. (click for larger version)
September 08, 2010 - Class sizes are growing in elementary schools across the district and the Clarkston Board of Education addressed the hot spots.

Interim Superintendent David Reschke told the board on Aug. 25 it is a yearly occurrence especially before school starts.

"Since it is so critical this year we wanted to let the board know," said Reschke.

Class sizes for Andersonville Elementary were at 33 students for second and fifth grades and one class in third grade, reaching 34. The student count was reaching over 30 in Pine Knob Elementary's fourth grade; Independence Elementary's fifth grade; and Springfield Plains Elementary's third grade.

The options were have more aide hours for each classroom or add a teacher to the school.

On March 22, the board raised class sizes from 25 to 27 when they finalized the 119 budget cuts. But the administration wanted to make sure they had enough aides and teachers for the changing enrollment.

"The sooner, the better," Anita Banach, Director of Human Resources said before the board voted. "There is a process that is involved and it is also in their contract if on they are on recall - they go back to their school."

On Aug. 25, the board rehired four teachers from this past spring's layoff list for the hot spots in Independence Elementary, Springfield Plains Elementary, Pine Knob Elementary and Andersonville Elementary.

Reschke addressed the board again on Sept. 2 with another hot spot - this time addressing the growing concern for Bailey Lake Elementary's Kindergarten classes - all three with 27 students and over 30 students in all three fourth grade classes.

"At the time we made the recommendations based on the recommendation from principals looking at the educational needs of the students and teachers," said Reschke.

The growing concern is money, $63,000 with total compensation. The board will spend $42,000 more by taking away the aide time.

During the board discussion Treasurer Rosalie Lieblang said if they used the number 27 for the other elementaries - they should use it for Bailey Lake.

"We did it for all of the schools at that level," she said. "I don't know why we wouldn't take action with the school."

Another concern was with the class sizes changing until school is in session is when would it stop.

"I am in full support of it," said Trustee Cheryl McGinnis. "But we may not be able to use the methodology next week. We knew when we made the cuts we would have to provide education and fulfill contract obligations. We are doing the best we can to educate our kids with what we have."

The board approved to rehire a teacher to work at Bailey Lake, 7-0.

"The bottom line doesn't change. We don't have the flexibility. We are acting on good faith our legislature is going to hand out. We need to keep track of money we intend to spend. We don't want to surpass the worst-case scenario."

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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