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More kindergartners in Superior could affect school funding

With an unexpectedly high number of kindergarten students enrolling this year, the Superior school district probably will exceeded the maximum class size needed to receive Student Achievement Guarantee in Education funding in three elementary sch...

With an unexpectedly high number of kindergarten students enrolling this year, the Superior school district probably will exceeded the maximum class size needed to receive Student Achievement Guarantee in Education funding in three elementary schools.

Final class size numbers won't be submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction until after Friday, but Superin-tendent Janna Stevens already is busy analyzing the figures from the first week's count.

"I'm trying to be proactive and find out if we have a problem," Stevens said.

She informed the Superior School Board of the potential problem at this week's committee of the whole meeting.

In Superior, five elementary schools use the SAGE program: Bryant, Cooper, Great Lakes, Lake Superior and Northern Lights. The program provides schools with $2,250 in funding per low-income student in kindergarten through third grade. The money helps keep class sizes at a 15:1 student-teacher ratio, while also providing professional development opportunities.

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Of the 77 total SAGE sections in the Superior district, 10 might be out of compliance this year.

The Superior district encountered problems with class-size restrictions last year and shifted teachers to different schools in hopes of avoiding the issue this year. If kindergarten class numbers remain too high this year at the three elementary schools, Stevens hopes to get a DPI waiver for the rest of the school year rather than hiring more teachers. Adding to the staff would cost the district about $240,000 for the year, which Stevens said is "not in the best interest of the district" during already difficult economic times.

Related Topics: EDUCATIONSUPERIOR
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