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updated: 9/2/2014 11:38 PM

District 220 appears to have moved beyond class size issue

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  • Ben Ditowsky District 220 director of data

      Ben Ditowsky District 220 director of data

  • Brian L. Harris District 220 superintendent

      Brian L. Harris District 220 superintendent

  • Brian Battle District 220 board president

      Brian Battle District 220 board president

 
 

The first day of class enrollment numbers have been tallied and it appears that parents' concerns about class sizes at Barrington Area Unit School District 220 Elementary schools have been satisfied.

According to a presentation by district statistician Ben Ditowsky at the district's public meeting Tuesday night, just two elementary school class rooms are above district guidelines. Both classrooms are third grade sections at Grove Avenue Elementary and both have 26 students, which is just above the district guidelines of 23-25 students for third grade sections.

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The issue of class sizes has been one of the most discussed topics at school board meetings for the past five or six months. At a meeting in April, around 30 parents addressed the board during public comment about class size projections that indicated several elementary class sections would be above district guidelines.

Parents expressed their shock that a district with so many resources might have overcrowded classrooms. In return, district administrators and board members tried to reassure parents that they had their eye on the enrollment numbers and would hire more teachers if it became necessary as projections changed as the new school year approached.

At Tuesday night's meeting no parent addressed the board on the topic.

According to the enrollment numbers, 49 fewer students showed up to class on the first day of school last week compared to the 2013-2014 school year.

Board President Brian Battle said despite the overall number being down once again, he saw some signs that enrollment may be on the rebound among elementary school students.

Battle pointed out that every elementary school class from last year added students throughout the year. For example, last year, the district counted 497 first grade students. Those students are now in second grade and according to the numbers, the class has grown to 516 students. Battle said the number of students doesn't always increase at the elementary school level like that. Usually the biggest increases in enrollment happen in sixth and ninth grades when private and home school students join the district for middle and high school respectively.

"It could mean younger families are moving back in (to the district)," Battle added, knocking on the wood table in front of him as he spoke.

Superintendent Brian Harris said the district would do a larger presentation of the enrollment numbers at a board meeting in October when they will have the 30-day enrollment figures.

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