School district officials tell us that there were 30 children in the primary grades years ago and the students were successful, but that was with the help of classroom aides, who will not be available this time around.
At a meeting in May, Supt. Michael Escalante and Assistant Supt. Dick Sheehan told a group of parents that the 30-student class size would be capped, meaning no primary grade class would be allowed to exceed that number. They said that could mean that children would potentially be moved from their home school to another area school if no space were available.
One of the moms from my daughter’s class said that they may look at private school for their son, and I have no doubt our school may lose some students whose parents can afford that choice.
The district’s focus seems to be strictly on balancing the budget with teacher layoffs and health insurance caps. Cutting teachers is a drastic step and should be a last resort.
I would like to hear what other areas of the budget they’ve cut. How many administrators will be laid off? How many non-teaching positions will be cut? How have expenses been reduced? Until the district shows that the budget is down to the bare bones and they’re doing everything possible to save the classroom teacher positions, the frustration will continue.
Earlier this year I wrote a column in which I questioned the reasoning behind the school board’s decision to pay Escalante $297,000. I pointed out that the incoming superintendent, Sheehan, makes $182,000, and I felt that 10% would be a reasonable increase, given the budget crisis.
This week I sent a letter to Escalante and the board members requesting a copy of Sheehan’s new contract, now that it has been approved and is public record. I will share that information when I receive it.
Get in touch SHARON RAGHAVACHARY is on the steering committee for Crescenta Valley Community Assn. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.