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D-428 eyes middle school class sizes

Officials can move students if room capacity reached

DeKALB – With school starting in less than three weeks, District 428 leaders are trying to ease Huntley Middle School teachers’ worries that class sizes will be larger than those at Clinton Rosette Middle School.

Becky Mascal, a Huntley math teacher, said she has grave concerns about the balance between enrollment at the district’s two middle schools. She questions whether classes at Huntley will exceed the 35-student limit the district tries to follow, and if Clinton Rosette is looking at a similar situation.

“We have an opportunity to address this issue before school starts,” Mascal said Tuesday during the district’s school board meeting. “I ask you tonight to make a pledge to provide an equitable education to all middle school students.”

As of Tuesday, school board President Tracy Williams said 431 students had registered at Clinton Rosette and 733 had registered at Huntley. Clinton Rosette has 27 full-time staff members while Huntley has 45.

Although enrollment numbers are hard to pin down before school starts, Williams said. While school leaders encourage early registration, parents often continue to register their students up to and after the first day of school, which this year is Aug. 27.

Superintendent Doug Moeller expects middle school principals will know by the end of next week what their classes sizes will be. They expect about 850 students at Huntley and close to 600 at Clinton Rosette.

If the final numbers show a drastic disparity between class sizes at middle schools, the district could move students from one school to the other. This practice, known as overflowing, is not uncommon at the elementary school level where district officials cap class sizes at 28 students, Moeller said.

“We have no intention of having a huge disparity between the schools,” Moeller said.

Another option would be to hire additional staff.

“We are not unreasonable,” Williams said. “We are not going to expect the students at Huntley to have 45 children in their class, or 35, when the other school across town does not.”

Moeller added that Huntley last year did have some classes with 37 or 38 students because of the timing of when those students moved into the district.

The average class size at Huntley for the 2012-2013 school year was two students larger than at Clinton-Rosette, according to the latest information available from the Illinois State Report Card. Clinton Rosette, with 602 total students, had an average class size of 30 students. Meanwhile Huntley, with 733 students had an average of 32 students in a class.

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