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March 9, 2013

Classroom size factors into Lockley construction project

(Continued)

NEW CASTLE — MAKING ROOM

Magusiak said the district’s plan is to use other rooms in the early learning center to reduce the class sizes to around 23 or 24 students.

“We’ll meet with the administrators, look at the class sizes and see where we can make it work.” He added knowing how many students register for kindergarten next year and in 2014-15 will be key.

If the numbers were to be based on this school year’s enrollment, the students per grade, number of teachers and class sizes at Lockley would be:

•Kindergarten — 281 students, 12 teachers, 24 students per class.

•First grade — 276 students, 10 teachers, 28 students per class.

•Second grade — 283 students, 10 teachers, 28 students per class.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education enrollment projections for this year showed 233 kindergartners, 243 first-graders and 232 second-graders.

The department’s 2014-15 projections, used to calculate the size of the Lockley expansion, show 222 in kindergarten, 220 in first grade, 217 in second grade.

“These are the numbers we have at this point,” Magusiak said, noting those kindergartners will be in first grade next year, but the district typically loses a few students in the transition from kindergarten to first grade.

“I’m looking at these numbers and I remember George Gabriel saying ‘I refuse to have 28 kids in a classroom,’” board member Barbara Razzano commented at the Feb. 26 meeting.

“Nobody was happy with the class size when we talked about consolidation,” she said. “That’s why we’re building a $20 million building. I wish we would have had these numbers before.”

Razzano has opposed the project from the outset, but voted to proceed with construction only after learning the district could lose its subsidy and owe other money in bond refinancing losses if it did not proceed.

“Does this tell me we are consolidating but our class sizes are just as large?” board member Anna Pascarella asked.

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