Citizen Input Regarding the Upcoming State BOE Meeting
Dear Members of the State BOE,
My name is Kirk Lunde and I am a resident of Tucker, GA. I write to you regarding two items on the agenda for your February 20, 2014 meeting.
First, I strongly urge you to vote to grant a charter for Tapestry Public Charter School. There are many reasons to support the creation of this school. Foremost is the need for a school which will provide an environment which supports students. I had a son at Tucker Middle School in DeKalb County. He learned very little, remembers less, but was considered “one of the best students” on his seventh grade team based on the fact he was not disruptive. That is not a standard which encourages academic achievement.
Secondly, I urge you to amend the proposed State Board of Education Resolution Regarding Class Size Exemptions for the 2014-2015 School Year to include a class size limit, or cap.
For the last four years the DeKalb County School District has utilized the “Class Size Waiver” to create unreasonable classrooms. It is bad enough that they have been granted waivers for up to eight students over the state guidelines in four of the categories. Classrooms in DeKalb County exceed even those numbers.
For example, during 2012-13 and the current school year, classes in the Remedial Education Program (REP) and the Gifted Program were allowed to have 27 students. That is 9 students over the state guideline of 18 students as listed in State Board of Education Rule 160-5-1-.08. I constantly hear of high school classrooms with over 40 students in them which is more than the 8 students approved in the waiver. Most classrooms were not designed to hold that many students.
These overcrowded classrooms are not in line with the considerations outlined in the Georgia Department of Education 2014-2015 State Board of Education Local Class Size Flexibility Considerations.
I understand the need for Class Size Exemptions. I am asking only that the State BOE place a limit for each of the categories listed on the Local School System Sample Class Size Resolution. I propose a limit of 5 students over the guideline for all the categories except for Alternative Education Program (AEP) and Special Education. Those two categories should not be allowed to increase class sizes and I propose they are excluded from the Resolution Regarding Class Size Exemptions. This will create the need for a wording change to replace “all statutory and regulatory class size maximums” with something else.
Additionally, I ask you to limit the size of kindergarten classes to 2 students over the class size stated in State Board of Education Rule 160-5-1-.08 if there is no para, and 4 students over the stated class size if there is a para. Kindergarten is the foundation for the rest of a child’s education and Georgia should provide opportunities for the strongest foundations possible for all children.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this. I appreciate your service and hard work.