July 11, 2013 in Washington Voices

CV budget cuts class sizes

Extended kindergarten also a priority for district
By The Spokesman-Review
 

In creating a list of budget priorities, the Central Valley School Board focused on reducing class sizes for young students, and extending the day for kindergartners.

The priorities, which were approved at the board’s regular meeting Monday, could mean more staff and more portables at some schools.

Superintendent Ben Small said if the state Legislature makes the funds available, these items could be placed on the budget for the 2013-14 school year.

Top priority for the school board is reducing the size of kindergarten and first grade classes at Adams, Broadway, Opportunity, McDonald, Progress and University elementaries. The goal is a student-teacher ratio of about 23 to 1.

This would require eight additional full-time employees and four new portables.

Another priority is all-day kindergarten at Broadway, Opportunity and Progress – the schools with the highest proportion of low-income students in the district. Small said three other schools – Adams, McDonald and University – could also get all-day kindergarten using district funds.

If placed on the budget, the district would shift from half-day kindergarten and would eliminate its tuition for all-day kindergarten at these schools. They would also need to hire 10 new full-time employees across these six schools and purchase four portables.

The district has also been looking into improving its technology infrastructure and equipment.

Installing districtwide wireless access is on the list, as well as upgrading computers throughout the schools.

To offset state funding cuts in June 2010, Central Valley implemented participation fees in high school sports. In the middle schools, participation fees were implemented for the 2009-10 school year. In recent months, board member Debra Long has rallied the district to eliminate these fees. The district’s plan for the 2013-14 school year would be to continue collecting the fees and set aside the money for the schools to use to meet increased athletics and activities costs such as travel, equipment, uniform purchases, officials’ costs and facility maintenance.

The school board will hold a public hearing about the budget at its next meeting, Aug. 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the district offices. The board will vote on the budget during its meeting Aug. 26.


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