The voted unanimously yesterday to waive the school’s class size policy for the next school year, potentially opening the door for larger class sizes in the fall.
The existing policy stipulates that low class sizes be maintained to “provide an appropriate educational setting for each of the children in the Wakefield School System.”
Specifically, the policy called for:
- A maximum of 22 students in a single kindergarten class
- A maximum of 25 students per class in grades 1-4
- A maximum student/teacher ratio of 125:5 or 100:4 for grades 5-8
- A maximum student/teacher ratio of 125:1 in high school
However, the policy also stated “should appropriate funding not be forthcoming…the committee recognizes that it will have to alter its class size goals for that year and re-evaluate this policy.”
With the requirements waived for the next school year, the Superintendent Joan Landers will now have the flexibility to work with the class sizes in order to meet this year’s budget.
Members of the committee said they did not believe there would be a significant increase in class sizes next year that would result in the limits being exceeded. Business Administrator Michael Connelly also pointed out that waiving the policy is not unprecedented.
"If you look at the enrollments, it doesn't appear that, system wide, there should be many changes in enrollment for the next school year," Connelly said. "This has been done in the past, and we're making the request that that be done for next year as well, that this policy be waived."
The maximum class size limits will go back into effect following the coming school year, unless the School Committee votes to waive the policy again at that time.