Area News | Home | Marketplace | Community

Return to Archived Stories

Paynesville Press - July 18, 2001

Federal funds could add teacher at PAES

By Michael Jacobson

Federal funds - through a class size reduction program - could allow Paynesville Area Elementary School to hire an extra teacher. The school board voted to apply for federal class size reduction funds at the board's meeting on Tuesday, July 10.

Due to budget cuts for the upcoming year, the district eliminated a section in the second, third, and fourth grades. These classes are the smallest in the district.

Reducing the sections to three (from four) does mean more kids in each class. District projections for next year are to have 20 kids in each first grade class, 21 in each second grade class, and 23 in each third grade class.

The federal funds are meant to be targeted in grades K-3 and to be aimed at reducing class size to 18 per class. Paynesville is eligible for up to $44,000.

At the board meeting, the proposal was to hire one teacher to split time between the second and third grades, but that idea has changed, according to elementary principal Todd Burlingame. The plan now is to use the federal funds to hire a teacher for one of the grades and use extra aide time in the other two grades to make the larger class size more manageable, he said.

Advertising for the position should start within a couple weeks.

The district has also been informed that this may be the last year for these federal funds, so the district will be hiring with the understanding that the position may be for only one year. Board member Bob See thought the short stint might make it difficult to hire, but superintendent Howard Cald-well didn't expect it to be a problem.

"Typical federal fix," said board chairman Pat Flanders of the limited effect of the money, "but for one year, it's wonderful."

The school district has utilized these federal funds in the past. In recent years the district's K-3 class sizes were low enough that the money could be spent elsewhere. Last year, the funds were used to have remedial math instruction in the middle school and high school, a position that has since been cut.

Contact the author at   •   Return to News Menu

Home | Marketplace | Community