Parent Traci Clark said for the third year in a row, her son's class has too many kids. Clark said she has contacted the proper school officials but hasn't gotten very far.
Clark's son is a sixth grader at New Hope Elementary School. With 33 students and only one teacher, Clark said his classroom is crowded and often chaotic.
"If there were fewer kids in the class, how much better could he do? Would he get that little bit of extra help he needs in math?" Clark is especially bothered that her son's class size is well over the State Board of Education's guidelines. The board recommends a standard sixth grade class have 26 students.
"Who can fix this for us? Who can give these kids what they deserve? They deserve it just like all the other kids," Clark said.
Madison County Schools Superintendent Dr. David Copeland said the problem is already on his radar.
"We are very concerned about class sizes throughout the system. We monitor that very closely on a weekly basis. We have some very large classes and we are not happy about that," Dr. Copeland said.
He said the problem boils down to funding.
"We are paid in arrears, which means we are paid based on last year's attendance," said Dr. Copeland.
The state allotted two sixth grade teachers for New Hope Elementary, but the school had an influx of students. The district cannot afford to fund another teacher on its own.
As for the state guidelines, Dr. Copeland said they are recommendations, not requirements. Even so, he said it is a situation they wish they could fix immediately.
"Our goal is certainly at least the state recommendation, but I personally would like to see less than that in the classroom if funding wasn't an issue," he said.
The school year has already begun, but Dr. Copeland said it isn't too late to fix the problem. Other options are being considered. He said they are hoping to come up with local funding to pay for another teacher, but nothing is guaranteed at the present time.
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