Going up? Class sizes could increase at TCU

By: 
Andrea Nelson

Talk of larger classroom sizes for the 2019-20 school year came into question at the Tri-City United School board meeting Monday night.

"We have some major concerns about some of the staffing that we're hearing is going to be…and the sections allowed for next year," said parent Lisa Hoefs. "I voted yes for a referendum so that my children could maintain the awesome class sizes that we have. And having more than 26 in a class is very concerning."

She added that a major concern of hers and other parents is that she has heard there will be two sections of sixth grade in Montgomery instead of three sections. As well, the number of students will increase to 30 in a classroom as a result of the decrease to sections.

Along with Hoefs, Amy Grunow, Amy Dahlke and Emily Hoefs voiced their opinions on the matter during the open forum portion of Monday's board meeting.

Each agreed that it is important to keep class sizes smaller, which will help to give their children the best education possible.

"We want to see our children flourish," said Grunow.

During the open forum, school board members and the district superintendent are not allowed to give comment or answer questions presented by the public during the forum, per board rules. Instead, the board stated they will take into consideration the concerns brought forward and TCU Superintendent Teri Preisler will call them with answers to their questions.

After the meeting, Preisler said she and the board appreciate the concerns and questions raised by the group and are working on a budget that will meet everyone's needs.

"We're trying to tighten things up and be conservative now to see where we're going to land," Preisler said of the 2019-20 budget.

At the school work session held at the end of April, Preisler gave the board a brief look at the budgeting needs for the next school year and told them that roughly $500,000 will need to be shaved off in order to have a balanced budget and to maintain being fiscally responsible.

She said many of the increased classroom sizes proposed are preliminary and are based on enrollment projections, which are created months in advance of when the real numbers occur. This, she said, is part of a conservative approach to help save time and money in the future.

See more in the print edition.

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