The New Normal
Here's an email that parents of students at Errol Hassell Elementary (Aloha, OR) received just before the start of the school year.
As you know, our district faced a $37 million dollar budget reduction this year. As a result, our school will not have as many teachers this year...
With fewer teachers in 5th grade, 4th grade and Kindergarten the class sizes are much larger than last year. All of the 5th grade classes will have 38 students. 4th grade will have 35 students in each class (last year there were four 3rd rade teachers so classes were much smaller). Most elementary schools across the district have class sizes of 35-38 students. Some schools are facing even larger class sizes....
As Errol Hassell Principal Ms. Valentine acknowledged, this isn't just one school. Errol Hassel is not alone in budget cuts, staff reductions, and crowded classrooms. Since 2008-09 school year, school classrooms across the state have seen similar changes, with 20% more students yet 16% fewer teachers.
Welcome to the new normal of Oregon K-12 schools! Unless, of course, we do something about it.