BVSD administration says they are trying to keep cuts away from the classroom as much as possible and they are increasing class size by an average of only one student. In reality, it doesn’t work that way since increasing class size is a result of cutting teachers. Consider the situation where A BVSD high school with a freshman class of 400 students needs 14 sections of a required subject (math, science, English) to accommodate 28 students per class. In a seven-period day, with two of these required classes per period, four teachers are needed, two teachers for periods 1-5 and two teachers for periods 6 and 7. Each teacher for periods 1-5 has a total of 144 students (a couple of classes will have more than 28 students) , and each teacher for periods 6 and 7 has 56 students. Now, if you cut one of the teachers teaching periods 6 and 7, those 56 students are re-assigned equally to the remaining three teachers throughout the remaining 12 sections. Each section sees an increase of 56/12 = 4.7 or 5 students, NOT one student. Typical class sizes will increase from 28 students to 33 students. The teacher that was cut who was responsible for only two of the required sections was probably also teaching an advanced class to make up their full contract. Now that class could be eliminated because there isn’t a qualified teacher to teach it!
And why hasn’t anyone caught on to the ridiculous claim by BVSD that they may need to cut up to 380 teachers due to budget restraints (The Camera, March 9, 2010)? Hasn’t anyone done the math? Average teacher’s salary in BVSD is around $58,000/year. That’s $22M! Since BVSD needs to cut at least $12M this year, are they planning on realizing all of the cuts from teachers’ salaries? The headlines in the 3/21/2010 Longmont Ledger were “Teachers, class size to hold steady” and “St. Vrain staff cuts to focus on administration” for the St. Vrain school district, with a similar cut requirement (at least $11M) and a similar total number of students. BVSD has said they will cut 24 positions and 13.5% of the budget at the Ed Center, but if you look at the details many of those cuts are being realized through attrition and re-assignment, not cuts (The Camera 3/10/2010).
BVSD administration is not being truthful or realistic with proposed budget cut numbers. They need to be true to their promise and to the public’s clearly stated wishes to keep cuts away from classrooms.