Reduce class size in primary grades

By From page A6 | February 21, 2013

My daughter is a kindergartner at Patwin Elementary. She has a fabulous teacher, and Patwin is a great neighborhood school. But she has 31 classmates. There are just two kindergarten classes now. When my son was in kindergarten at Patwin four years ago, he had 18 classmates and there were three classes. As my daughter is quick to say: “That’s not fair!”

My daughter’s class is crowded and sometimes chaotic. The kids simply do not get enough individual and small group attention at a critical phase of their education. Our littlest students deserve nurturing and the focus of their teachers.

I give to the Davis Schools Foundation to help make up for the budget shortfalls. I voted for Prop. 30 and Measure E. And now the state has a balanced budget. My questions to the Board of Education are: “When can we expect normal funding for the primary grade students in K to 3rd grade? When will Davis Joint Unified go back to normal kindergarten class sizes of 20? Where does this fall as a budget priority for the district?”

Measure E was clearly designed to reduce class sizes in the primary grades. It is time to respect what we local voters voiced last November. It is our money, and these are our precious youngsters.

When the state and local budgets were in crisis deficits, I could understand the need to make hard decisions on school cuts. But the crisis is over. The state has a balanced budget. The Davis Board of Education needs to make smaller classes for our littlest students a budget priority. All I read about in The Enterprise is the focus on the GATE program and ninth grade. I want the board to make class-size reduction a policy and budget priority.

Parents from many Davis elementary schools are increasingly concerned about the large class sizes for our littlest ones. It is not right and not fair that my 5-year-old girl bear the brunt of the board’s budget decisions and misplaced priorities.

Jim McKinney

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