Advertisement

How outsiders bolster school budget

Students from outside the district seen as an important tool for keeping class sizes small.

September 22, 2010|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

John Petersen and his family moved to La Cañada five years ago. He came here, primarily because of the city's great schools. But today he's concerned about those schools, and with the growing class sizes within the La Cañada Unified School District.

Petersen has two children attending Palm Crest Elementary, a first- and third-grader, and another who will enter kindergarten next fall. Two years ago, his eldest child was one of 18 students in a first-grade class that was led by a teacher assisted by an aide. Today, Petersen has a child in a first-grade class of 24 students with teacher, but no aide.

"That is a big, big difference for such young children," Petersen said. "I am concerned about it and I think all district parents should be concerned."

Advertisement

Even though class sizes are larger than before, adding students from outside the LCUSD is a key component to keeping class sizes manageable. That may seem counterintuitive, but it's a fact.

District officials say that classes would be even larger without the out-of-district students. That's because each district receives income from the state based on its student population. So more students mean more funds. The extra funds interdistrict students generate helps LCUSD to remain solvent and means that the district has to do less budget cutting than it otherwise would have to do.

"The misconception is that the cause of the increase in class size is the out-of-district students," said Scott Tracy, vice president of the school board. "The fact of the matter is that without these students, we would be unable to maintain class sizes as they are currently staffed if we had not increased our out-of-district students."

Children whose parents work full time in La Cañada Flintridge can be considered for an interdistrict permit to attend school in La Cañada's public schools. Enrolling these students allows the district to compensate for declining enrollment. La Cañada High School graduated 358 seniors in June; just 157 kindergarteners enrolled in the district's elementary schools for this school year.

La Canada Valley Sun Articles La Canada Valley Sun Articles
|
|
|