Duluth school district adds more staff to serve influx of studentsSuperintendent I.V. Foster said he had concerns about class sizes at a number of schools in the district.
By: Jana Hollingsworth, Duluth News Tribune
The Duluth school district is adding nearly eight more certified teacher and staff positions.
Using the rest of $1 million in unexpected state money — more than half was used for about six teachers earlier this month — the equivalent of 7.8 full-time employees will be spread throughout the district. Three of those positions are deans of students for Denfeld and East high schools and Woodland Middle School. The hiring of those three was approved Tuesday night by the Duluth School Board.
Superintendent I.V. Foster said he had held off on using all of the money before school started because he wanted to make sure the need was there before adding teacher hours and staff. Because of high class sizes, they saw the need, he said.
“Will there be further recommendations?” he said. “Possibly. But those will be based on the limited resources we have available.”
Board member Gary Glass said he would like to see equity in teacher placement, ensuring they are spread throughout schools. Foster said it wasn’t as simple as that, because some schools have bigger class sizes than others.
“They had extremely high numbers at the high schools, in excess of 40,” Foster said. “We had to reduce there.”
Marcus Jahn, a student representative on the board, said the No. 1 concern for students at his high school, East, is class sizes.
“Some are reasonable, and some are a bit ridiculous,” he said. “In calculus, I had to stand in the back of the room. There weren’t enough desks for everyone.”
Some students weren’t able to get into the classes they wanted to take, he said.
Foster said he had concerns about class sizes at a number of schools in the district.
“I don’t like seeing class sizes above 30, but we have limited resources to address that,” he said. “We have to make critical decisions.”
The additional $1 million comes from increased enrollment and an increase to the amount received per pupil.