Clarke County’s proposed 2018-19 school budget will include over $1 million to add 13 teaching positions and reduce average class sizes.
As reported in the Athens Banner-Herald, ten of the positions will be fourth- or fifth-grade teachers, one each at Alps Road, Barnett Shoals, Barrow, Fowler Drive, Gaines, Timothy Road, Whitehead Road elementary schools, and two at Chase Street Elementary School, according to a summary sheet schools Superintendent Demond Means presented at a Clarke County Board of Education work session last week.
Chase Street, the school district’s highest-scoring school on state achievement tests, has seen its enrollment grow by nearly 100 students over the past few years.
The new positions will add $1.525 million to the Clarke County School District’s proposed budget of about $150 million. The price for the 13 additional teachers was $1,001,000. The school district currently has more than 1,000 teachers.
Clarke Central High School will also get three more teachers, Means said.
The county will also add some positions in disciplinary support and instructional support, he said.
Some research shows that reducing class sizes has a positive effect, but other studies don’t support that, he said.
But smaller class sizes do contribute to teachers’ feelings of “efficacy,” and “parent comfort goes up when class size goes down,” he said.
Means stated two revenue sources to cover the new positions, which have a combined cost of $1.525 million.
The county will get an extra $1.3 million this year under the state “Quality Based Education” funding formula. Another $225,000 will come from property tax revenues.
The county tax assessor adjusted his estimate upward on how much the country’s tax digest has grown in the past year to about 5 percent.
The Clarke County Board of Education is scheduled to approve next year’s school system budget in June.
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