Legislative

Option School Class Sizes

Did you know class sizes are going up for only Options Schools like Salmon Bay? This decision is being made this week! Please get to the school board meeting Wednesday with a sign supporting sensible class sizes and email the Board.
Our K-5 have recently been assigned LARGER class room sizes in 2017/2018. Option schools are being enrolled at 26 students for Kindergarten – 3rd grade (and 28 for grades 4-5) while attendance area schools (e.g. Whittier, Adams, Loyal Heights, North Beach, Viewlands) are being enrolled at LOWER class sizes (K-22, 1st-24, 2nd/3rd-25, 4th/5th-27).
Higher class sizes can work for language immersion schools (because of attrition) and other special situations but the vast majority of option schools in Seattle will be hurt by this policy including Salmon Bay. This is strange because more and more parents are asking for option school placement, Salmon Bay has a “waitlist” at every grade in elementary.
What we’d like to see is a policy where option schools are enrolled the same as attendance area schools. And if option schools want a waiver for higher class sizes, that can be granted. This is the only equitable option for students and teachers.
PLEASE GET INVOLVED! 
ACTION OPPORTUNITY #1:  Come to School Board Meeting on Wednesday, April 5. Support those giving public testimony against the current class size arrangement. This will be the last chance to influence this decision before school assignments happen. The ability to sign up for testimony has passed but if you happened to have signed up for please contact Mardi Brekke-Hutchings (mardib@live.com) and/or Cathy Liermann (cathyrl@uw.edu) (parents from Thornton Creek) so we can coordinate testimonies. Bring a sign.
ACTION OPPORTUNITY #2:  Please email these district personnel today:
Michael Tolley mftolley@seattleschools.org
Stephen Nielsen sjnielsen@seattleschools.org
Sherri Kokx skkokx@seattleschools.org
Ashley Davies aedavies@seattleschools.org
Faauu Manu fmmanu@seattleschools.org
JoLynn Berge jdberge@seattleschools.org
superintendent@seattleschools.org and schoolboard@seattleschools.org
 
Charlie Mas sent me a response to a question with the following, it captures the situation very well:
“The funding of option schools is the same as attendance area schools. The difference is that attendance area schools have no choice in how a significant portion of their funding is spent while option schools are given more flexibility. Or so the District would have you think.
The District says that option schools can choose to spend the funds on lowering class size. In that case, they suggest, the class sizes will be the same as those at attendance area schools. The District says that they are giving option schools the opportunity to self-determine whether to have the smaller class sizes or to have slightly larger class sizes and reallocate the class size reduction funds to another purpose.
Of course, if the option schools are enrolled so that they have, for example, three third grade classes with 26 students in each, they can’t very well leave nine students in the hall to get their class size down to 23. And the additional funding isn’t enough to create four classes of 19 or 20. So I’m not really sure how the options schools could choose to have class sizes that match the attendance area school class sizes.
Perhaps the District officials could explain how this flexibility works if the option schools wanted to spend the money to match attendance area school class sizes.”
 
Thanks
Scott Koch
FOSB Co-Chair
fosbchair@gmail.com