FOREST CITY, Iowa - Parents don't want their kids to be overlooked in a large class, which is why Forest City School officials included the topic on addressing class sizes at the elementary school last week.
Superintendent Darwin Lehmann says two retired teachers brought the issue up regarding overcrowding in the first and second grade classrooms, with the district expecting an average of 25.3 students and 25.6 students in first and second grades per section respectively during the 2018-19 school year.
Lehmann says the district can't afford to hire more teachers to alleviate the situation due to their current budget, but did mention that there is a contingency plan in place: both rooms have been offered flexible seating options that allow more space in rooms without having to add desks, and will develop a "what if" class list in case the school has to add a fourth section for first grade.
Linda Severson is a life-long Forest City resident who's own daughter attended school in Forest City growing up and is currently teaching in Denison, and sees the benefit of smaller class sizes.
"Especially in the smaller grades, a smaller class size would probably be better. I understand those concerns. I also understand that Mr. Lehmann and other board members' hands are probably tied as far as spending money on staff members right now because of the budget," Severson says.
Severson notes that in order to see change, residents need to make their voices heard during this year's election season.
"I feel that the way to get classes smaller is to get more money into education. I don't know if they could do much about it without more funding. If we're going to get more funding, we're going to have to head to the polls," Severson adds.
Lehmann notes that class sizes do not always reflect the number of students in the room during instruction because some students are pulled out for math and reading due to meeting IEP needs. In addition, K-2 students that qualify for reading supports will get that through the district's Title services and are also pulled during parts of the day.