The Aberdeen School Board will examine various options for coming into compliance with the state of Washington’s new class size standard of one teacher for every 17 students in kndergarten through third grade at its next meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20.
Superintendent Alicia Henderson said the average class size is currently 19 for grades K-3 in the Aberdeen School District.
“We are still waiting for guidance from the state on many of the requirements,” Henderson said in a press release. “Yet we want to do our due diligence and keep the Board and the community informed.”
According to Henderson, it’s not yet clear whether school districts can meet the new standard with a district-wide average, or whether every K-3 class must be less than 17 students. The cost of adding classrooms and hiring more teachers must be weighed against the additional revenue the state may send, she explained.
“This is a big jigsaw puzzle for us,” Henderson said. “And the financial implications could be significant. We don’t have extra classrooms at all of our schools waiting to be filled.”
Adding to the equation is the District’s decision to add three special education classrooms following the recommendations of the Special Education Task Force, she noted.
Four options will be presented for the Board’s consideration:
• Purchase portables for the elementary schools;
• Move all sixth grades to Miller Junior High School;
• Band schools by grade level as neighboring districts have done, or
• Keep the status quo — Do not implement in 2018-2019 and wait for more guidance from the state.
Dr. Henderson said no decisions have been made, and she is looking forward to exploring the options with the Board.
“I am confident that we can come up with a fiscally responsible solution that supports the great work taking place on behalf of students in the Aberdeen School District,” she said.
The board meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, in the Community Room at Aberdeen High School.