District 84 Board mulls electives, class size

/ 12 April 2012 / jennifer

Fritz Busch, New Ulm Journal, April 12, 2012 –

SLEEPY EYE – After more than an hour of discussion, the Sleepy Eye Public School Board set an April 23 meeting to act on 2012-13 school year elective offerings, minimum class sizes and a Senior Class Trip to San Francisco.

Class scheduling for next year remains in flux while the district waits to hear if its recent four-day school week proposal is approved by the Minnesota Department of Education.

Superintendent John Cselovszki said a decision is expected soon, possibly this Friday or next Monday.

Board Member Ron Geiger called the board’s policy of requiring 10 students for a class “too restrictive” and said that shrinking teaching positions to small fractions drives out good teachers.

Board Member Casey Coulson agreed and supported full-time band and choir positions.

Cselovszki said it wasn’t the board’s decision to decide minimum class size, and doing so was “micro-managing.”

Several board members said they heard in the community that allowing small class sizes was fiscally irresponsible.

“If somebody calls us that, it’s ridiculous,” said Coulson. “Look what we’ve done the last few years.”

Retired vocal instructor Mary Mulry said the school still has a quality music program, although student numbers tend to shrink in the second and third trimesters. Adding daily lessons would be beneficial, she said.

“We’ll wait and see if the four-day week goes, then keep or change policy,” Geiger said.

The board unanimously approved:

A three-year Flexible Learning Year (FLY) Proposal for 2013-2016 and remaining in the FLY Consortium.

Concepts include reforming schools through staff development, board and principal training and structural reform; building a shared data base for curriculum development and other uses; and bringing staff together to work on early learning standards.

Continuing to share an industrial arts position with Springfield Public School in 2012-13.

The Monday, April 23 board meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. in the conference room.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com).