Wednesday, January 26, 2011
How would Luna's education reforms affect Kuna?
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna should be commended for seeking ways to improve public education in Idaho.
But I have some misgivings not only about the end proposals he’s come up with but also his methodology for coming up with solutions.
And I hope that our state legislators look very closely at Luna’s proposals and hold them with great skepticism.
Luna has proposed raising the state’s student-teacher ratio from 18.2 students per teacher to 19.1 in order to reduce spending by about $63 million.
If approved, it appears that the money would be used in the first year to offset past cuts and replace lost one-time revenue. I’m not sure this is avoidable in the first year.
Luna, however, is proposing to continue these cost savings on teacher salaries in order to buy laptops for every student and maintain them. More on that later, but that part of the proposal should really smack conservative lawmakers in the face.
But back to what I see as inevitable teacher cuts in the 2011-12 school year. What impact will that have in Kuna?
Class sizes in Kuna elementary schools are anywhere from 19.75 as the average of four first-grade classes at Indian Creek, all the way up to 33 students per 5th-grade class at Teed. In general, the class sizes at all Kuna elementary schools range from about 22 students per classroom to 29. At the middle school, the class size is about 30. At the high school, about 22. At Initial Point, Kuna’s alternative high school, the ratio is 17.56.
But this counts the regular classroom teachers and doesn’t include such positions as nurses, counselors, special education teachers and psychologists, whose numbers are also factored in when the state calculates the student-teacher ratio.
In all, Kuna has 196 classroom teachers for 4,909 students, for a ratio of about 25 students per teacher. In addition, Kuna has another 30 employees who are nurses, counselors, special education teachers or psychologists, bringing Kuna’s student-teacher ratio closer to the 21.7 number that’s been reported by the state, the highest ratio in Idaho.
You can read the rest of this in this week's Kuna Melba News.