Victoria school board approves class-size waivers

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

Sept. 19, 2013 at 4:19 a.m.
Updated Sept. 20, 2013 at 4:20 a.m.

Victoria school district trustees voted to approve the district's application for 65 classroom size waivers at a regular board meeting Thursday night.

The state requires kindergarten through fourth-grade classrooms to maintain a 22-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio.

If a classroom exceeds the state-mandated ratio, the district is required to seek a waiver or cap, or transfer, their students to other campuses.

In a presentation led by Tammy Nobles, VISD director of student services, deficiencies in the hiring of highly qualified teachers after the onset of the school year, a lack of classroom space and an unanticipated growth in enrollment are at the root of the district's need for waivers.

"We've been conducting a demographic study to see what direction the population is headed," said VISD Superintendent Robert Jaklich. "We're going to have to take a look at our boundaries."

By seeking waivers, the district has been able to keep 103 students at their home campuses. Fifty students have been capped as a result of last-minute registration and lack of space at their home campus.

"By keeping students in their neighborhoods, we're reducing the amount of time they'd be spending otherwise on the buses," Jaklich said.

In efforts to keep the number of waivers low and students in their neighborhoods, the district moved five classroom teachers to other campuses.

Additionally, Nobles said the hiring of 25 three-hour teachers working across 15 elementary campuses will help alleviate stress of a larger-than-expected number of students in the classroom.

During the question portion of the presentation, board vice president Bernard Klimist asked if those three-hour teachers would remain on those campuses if enrollment changed throughout the year.

"Yes, that is a commitment we're making for the year," Jaklich responded.

"Then with that, I make a motion to approve the application for waivers," Klimist said.



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