Student numbers exceed SAGE limits
With an unexpectedly high number of kindergarten students enrolling this year, the Superior School District will likely exceeded the maximum class size needed to receive Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE) funding in three elementar...
With an unexpectedly high number of kindergarten students enrolling this year, the Superior School District will likely exceeded the maximum class size needed to receive Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE) funding in three elementary schools.
Final class size numbers will not be submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) until after Sept. 18, but Superintendent Janna Stevens is already busy analyzing the figures from last Friday's count.
"I'm trying to be proactive and find out if we have a problem," Stevens said.
She informed the Superior School Board of the potential problem at Tuesday's committee of the whole meeting.
In Superior, five elementary schools utilize the SAGE program: Bryant, Cooper, Great Lakes, Lake Superior and Northern Lights. The program provides schools with $2,250 in funding per low-income student in kindergarten through third grade. The money helps keep class sizes at a 15:1 student-teacher ratio, while also providing professional development opportunities.
Of the 77 total SAGE sections in the Superior district, only 10 may be out of compliance this year.
Currently, Bryant and Great Lakes elementary schools are five students over the class size limit, and Cooper Elementary School is 10 students over. Class sizes at those schools are between 16 and 19 students, with an average of 17 children per class. To receive SAGE funding, class sizes in kindergarten through third grade must remain at 15 or lower.
The Superior district encountered problems with class size restrictions last year and shifted teachers to different schools in hopes of avoiding the issue this year. The DPI also granted Superior two class size waivers for third grade students at Lake Superior and one for Bryant at the first and second grade level.
If kindergarten class numbers remain too high this year at the three elementary schools, Stevens hopes to get a DPI waver for the remainder of the school year rather than hire additional teachers. Adding to the staff would cost the district about $240,000 dollars for the year, which Stevens feels is "not in the best interest of the district" during already difficult economic times.
Also at Tuesday's committee of the whole meeting, Superior School Board members briefly discussed President Barack Obama's televised address to school children. The board members had a generally positive reaction to the president's speech. Most had difficulty understanding why controversy arose in the first place.
"What could be controversial about staying in school and getting good grades?" board member John Hendricks said.
"It's not like he's trying to get their votes," added Len Albrecht, president of the school board.
In his speech, President Obama stressed the importance of working hard in school and getting a good education. He encouraged students to set goals and follow through with them, even if the first try doesn't result in success.
"I'm working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books and the equipment and the computers you need to learn. But you've got to do your part, too," Obama said. "So I expect all of you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you."
Superintendent Stevens said despite possible controversy in other areas of the country, the event came and went in Superior without incident. Teachers were informed of district policy before Tuesday and were allowed to decide whether or not to show the president's address if it fit their curriculum.
Stevens received a few calls from parents before the speech aired, but no one expressed real anger.
"They weren't negative. They were just asking for clarification of which students and which classes would see it," Stevens said.