The Atlanta Public School Board of Education reconvened today to get an update from the administration on the status of “class leveling” – a process in which the class sizes are brought in line with the plan adopted during the budget process. Originally, the BOE was to discuss the matter yesterday, however the BOE spent over 2 hours and 40 minutes in executive session and subsequently deferred the “class leveling” issue to today.
Superintendent Davis opened the meeting with the statement that he had not prepared a presentation for the meeting, but he would be responsive to any questions. He additionally indicated that the leveling is an ongoing process that continues.
In a response to a question, Michael Gray, the head of Human Resources, indicated that on September 3rd, the student enrollment as shown in the Infinite Campus software was 43,989, the actual enrollment on that day was 43,155 and that the projections on which the budget was planned was 43,580. While the numbers are actually very close to the projections, there are variances on a school by school and grade level by grade level basis.
Per a handout provided by HR, the planned sequence of events was to establish the enrollment as of September 3rd (which was done), to finalize teacher transfers by September 9th and to have teachers report to their new locations on September 16th. However, based on Superintendent Davis’ comments, only step one has been completed and the process of establishing which teachers would transfer and where they would go is still under consideration.
The discussion on the matter was consistent with the discussions held during the Budget Commission meetings earlier this year and it was clear some BOE members were frustrated with the information they were receiving and that Davis consistently referred to an “ongoing process”, but did not indicate what actions were taking place to resolve certain large class sizes at specific schools.
After all was said and done, I believe the essence of the administration position is as follows:
- We established the level of enrollment and class sizes on September 3rd.
- We are continuing to monitor changes in enrollment across the system.
- We are aware of certain instances in which class sizes are above the State maximum plus 5 that was used for planning purposes.
- We will make all the teacher transfers to level the class size at one time around October 1st.
It was relatively clear that, even though there were certain instances in which class sizes were substantially above the planned level of State maximum plus 5, no action would be taken until all the planning was complete.
The BOE then went into executive session to discuss personnel matters. In advance of the executive session, Chairman McDaniel announced the BOE would not take any further actions today or announce any decisions upon re-convening the work session.
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