• Petitioned Wake County Board of Education

This petition was delivered to:

Wake County Board of Education
Northern Area Superintendent, Wake County Public School System
Dr. Pamela Kinsey-Barker

Waive 27-student minimum for 4/5 grade classes in multi-track elem schools

    1. Petition by

      Brier Creek Elementary PTA

Current WCPSS allotment formulas set the average maximum class size for grades K-3 at 24 students, but they fund a teacher for every 27 students for 4-5 grades. This discrepancy in class size requirements means that as our 3rd graders move up to 4th grade, our schools often cannot fund a 4th grade teacher for the rising 3rd grade class on a given track; their class size is now too small. Families are forced to either move to another track, or deal with children (and after-school care, and vacations) on different calendars. This causes considerable anxiety among our families and contributes to attrition among our families with older age students.


What is the problem?
An example is illustrative: Say your school has 44 kids in two 3rd grade classes on track 3. When those kids move to 4th grade, all of a sudden, the school does not have enough students in those classes to pay for two 4th grade teachers, because WCPSS policy requires at least 54 (27+27) students. Clearly, 44 is too many to consolidate into one class. So, the school (and affected families) are faced with a tough choice: Either they must move at least 10 students from other tracks onto track 3 to fill the minimum class-size requirement, or move as many as 17 track 3 students OFF this track and spit them among other tracks.

On a traditional calendar, this is not an issue because all students are on the same calendar. In a multi-track year-round school, however, it's as if the school is running 4 mini-schools – each with different curriculum schedules and vacation times.

This problem is exacerbated for families with multiple school-age children: If their 4th grader is moved off their track, they must either move other elementary-aged siblings, too, or deal with children (and after-school care, and vacations) on different calendars. This causes considerable anxiety among our families and contributes to attrition among our families with older age students.

What is the policy solution we propose?
The Brier Creek Elementary PTA is proposing that WCPSS lower the 27-student minimum allotment formula for 4th and 5th grade classes in multi-track, year round elementary schools. We ask that WCPSS change its allotment formula to allow our schools to receive funding for a 4th grade or 5th grade teacher for every 24 students.
 
How will families, children, teachers and WCPSS benefit by this policy solution?
The proposed change in allotment formula will provide our families with much-needed stability. We want to know that our children will be in the same school, on their same track and not be shuffled from year to year. It will allow our working families to plan for after-school care and track-out camps. It will allow our families to plan vacations.

The proposed change will benefit our children and their teachers, because it means smaller class sizes. Our school administrators won’t be forced to choose between larger class sizes or disrupting families by moving them across tracks.

We believe the proposed solution will also benefit the Wake County Public School System, because it means that fewer families will transfer out of year-round schools as their children reach the upper elementary school grades.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. 3/5: WCPSS proposed budget addresses our issue!

      At the Board of Education (BOE) meeting tonight, interim schools superintendent Gainey presented the 2013-14 proposed budget in broad strokes. I am delighted to report he specifically mentioned that it includes a classroom teacher formula increase for 4/5 grade multi-track schools. This is very promising news!

      Here are the specifics (p. 124): Under the proposed budget, the allotment formula (to fund a teacher) for 4/5 grades in multi-track year-round schools would be lowered from 27 to 24 students. The formula for 4/5 grades at traditional schools would be lowered from 27 to 26. This is projected to cost $3.1M.

      The BOE will now review the 400+ budget document and discuss at their April meeting. The budget must be finalized by May. Overall, they are proposing to ask county commissioners for a $8.3 million increase.

      Link to budget: http://www.wcpss.net/about-us/our-finances/budget/2013-14-spb/sections/22-School-Based%20Expenditure%20Adjustments.pdf

    2. Reached 500 signatures
    3. 2/21 Update: Your voices are being heard!

      Great news: In the last 2 days we have heard back from 2 BOE members & a WCPSS area superintendent. The BOE members greatly appreciated our input and asked clarifying Q's about class allotment size. They felt this was a very valid concern & were looking into it.
      The District is as well; in fact, it's been a priority for months. The area superintendent (a former year-round elem. school principal - so knows the difficulties we face) said they have been running cost implications for changing the class size allotment formula & believes the end result will alleviate the 4/5 grade discrepancy. They will be including a solution as part of a cohesive budget to the BOE next month.
      I believe parents and WCPSS are on the same page on this. District staff are working within a challenging fiscal & political climate. There are budget implications for alleviating this discrepancy, so we as parents need to have their back when they put forth a budget solution.
      So far-positive & productive!

    4. Reached 250 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Sarah Phillips RALEIGH, NC
      • over 1 year ago

      Stability

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Laura Kelly APEX, NC
      • over 1 year ago

      My boys were on two tracks and it was a NIGHTMARE for our family to schedule and spend time together. My nephews are going to be affected by this and that is simply not acceptable. This should have been fixed years ago.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Margie Skibo SHARON, PA
      • over 1 year ago

      Grandchild goes to that school district.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kris Saunders RALEIGH, NC
      • over 1 year ago

      I have two sons in year round schools. Track stability is of the utmost importance - if there is no money to fund a 4th or 5th grade teacher on a track that your children are assigned to - you could potentially have children on two different tracks or cause considerable disruption to the family schedule.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Jennifer Bateman RALEIGH, NC
      • over 1 year ago

      Takes away stability between the grades and not healthy for the school environment at all. Seems very unbalanced to have a class minimum in upper grades and a maximum in lower grades. Forcing students to switch tracks creates uneasiness and undue stress on children and families, particularly with older siblings.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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