VISD school board seeks waiver to increase student, teacher ratio in some classrooms

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

Sept. 19, 2012 at 4:19 a.m.

An increase in enrollment this year has Victoria school board members poised to request permission to expand some classroom capacity from 22 to 24 students.

Because Texas law mandates a maximum of 22 students per teacher, the board must request a state waiver for the increase to take place.

Other factors driving the expansion include a shortage of bus drivers and the funds available for hiring part-time teaching assistants.

"There's no point in putting a kid on a bus for another hour if we can handle them where they are already," said school board president Tami Keeling.

The grade levels affected by the waiver include kindergarten, first, second, third and fourth grade.

"Those are the foundation years," said Diane Boyett, school district spokeswoman said. "Our plan is to recruit part-time assistants through the ranks of retired teachers."

In other business, the school board plans to present Sheriff Michael T. O'Connor with the "You Make A Difference Award," for his new partnership with the district.

"Because of the shortage at the police department we were unable to get all the school resource officers needed," Boyett said.

O'Connor and Superintendent Robert Jaklich worked together late this summer to develop a $95,000 plan to fulfill the district's security needs. Of those district funds, $50,000 is going to a one-time cost for new SRO vehicles.

The superintendent said he's happy with the change because of the sheriff's access to schools in the country.

"If we ever have a need at one of our country schools the sheriff's department is authorized to provide service," Jaklich said.



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