Parents Worried Over Budget’s Impact on Class Sizes

The district’s proposed budget to eliminate 23 teaching positions and five teaching assistants could increase high school class sizes.

Hauppauge parents spoke out at Tuesday’s board meeting about fear of the potential impact of school officials’ plans to reduce teaching staff under proposed 2011-2012 budget, which goes before voters May 17.

The calls for elimination of 23 teaching positions and five teaching assistants, as staff accounts for 74 percent of the district’s expenses.

“You have every confidence the teachers can handle 30 kids in the classroom. The teachers are doing a fantastic job… but 27 to 30 kids in a third-grade class is too much,” said a woman, who declined to be identified for fear of retribution.

The reductions will cut five full-time teachers at the high school, 5.8 in the middle school, and two full-time teachers with and 2.8 special educations teachers in the elementary schools. This is in addition to the 15 teaching positions the district has eliminated since the 2007-2008 school year.

“Some of the reductions, and I don’t mean to be nebulous, they might impact class size at the high school,” said Superintendent Patricia Sullivan-Kriss.

The district’s contracts limit high school classes to 30 students, Sullivan –Kriss said, but further limitations are imposed based on subject. The superintendent said science classes are often smaller due to a limited number of lab stations.

According to the 2009-2010 New York State Report Card, Hauppauge’s secondary class sizes have remained relatively stable over the last three years. The eight-grade math classes increased from 23 to 25 students on average, social studies from 24 in 2007-2008 school year to 25 students. The tenth-grade math classes and social studies class sizes saw similar increases.

Data for the 2010-2011 school year was not available from the school district.

In the elementary schools, ’ average class size increased from 23 to 25 students, while ’s remained at 23 students and  class sizes dropped from 24 to 22 students despite staffing reductions.

The superintendent said the district continues to take active measure to reduce class sizes when necessary, including breaking the fifth-grade class into four sections, instead of three this school year. School officials said they are keeping an eye on the current third-grade enrollment, for next year’s fourth grade sizes. No decision will be made until August.

James Stucchio, assistant superintendent of business and operations, cautioned parents that voting down the budget in effort to save teachers, in hopes of preserving class sizes, might have the opposite effect.

“The message would be the budget is too high, we need you to reduce the budget. What it will lead to, unfortunate, is more personnel reductions,” Stucchio said.

concerned parent May 12, 2011 at 01:29 AM
Hauppauge elementary class sizes are one of the largest in comparison to many of the districts in the surrounding areas, and then some. There is an average of at least 27 children in the upper elementary classrooms and 25 in the primary. That is way to high to give any child any individual attention he or she may need.
Haup21 May 12, 2011 at 11:47 PM
Do we know what the current budget will do to the average class size in math, english and science classes in the middle and high school? Has the class sizes in the past been this high ? I am upset by the reductions to math and english being the highest cuts. Is this because of enrollment decreasing over the last couple of years? I do not feel that voting yes on the budget to save additional teaching positions is the answer to solve this problem. Yes a class size of 30 kids is too high for the amount of taxes we pay. They need to look where the fat is and in every budget there is fat... Stop using the children as leverage.
Nancy Drew May 13, 2011 at 01:04 AM
The class size in this district is too high! The fat that you mention is in the district office! That is where they need to start trimming. They think that because they cut some there in the past that it is enough. I can tell you that the Special Ed dept at the district is the 1 st place I would start slicing! There is so much fat in that office the way it is run is costing more money and screwing those kids. They are expecting this budget to pass and from the looks of things I doubt that will happen. They should be ashamed of themselves. Horrible district!!!
Kindergarten Parent May 13, 2011 at 02:23 AM
How in anyone's logic would it make sense to vote the budget down to reduce class size? Are you kidding me ? If you vote the budget down more teachers will lose their jobs and class size will go up. If you want class size to go down and admin to be cut you need to show up and speak at Board of Ed meetings BEFORE they propose the final budget. NOT IN MAY... The only way to vote for the good of the children in the district is to vote YES on May 17th!!!!
Nancy Drew May 13, 2011 at 03:37 AM
That's the answer! Show up to the BOE meetings. Well I for one am at everyone. I have not missed one. I don't think that would change a thing. People in our community have been there. They have voiced their concerns. I have heard what will happen if it gets a no vote and goes down. The community has heard it as well. I think what the community wants to know is have they heard the community? They came out. They spoke. We all spoke and the answer is always come out to the BOE meetings? Well my question is why? We need a change! We need to get all of that dead wood out starting from the Superintendent down to the last board member. We need a change! We need people who will listen and work with their community and stop threatening us with what will happen if we don't do it their way!
Haup21 May 13, 2011 at 10:55 PM
To Kindergarten parent, Voting the budget "NO" will not make the class sizes go up anymore. We are already at the mandated levels for our district. I do attend the board meetings most of the time and I do speak up. The problem is that most of what is in the budget is predetermined regardless of how we vote. However, a "no" vote sends a message that we DON'T support the never ending increases in spending, 70% of which goes mostly towards teacher pay and benefits. Enough is enough.
concerned parent May 14, 2011 at 02:02 AM
I am not a teacher but I believe the teachers work hard for their salaries and deserve to be compensated for what they do. However, it is impossible for them to do their jobs properly, while providing an eduction based on our children's needs, when the class sizes are so large. They need to find a way to make the class sizes smaller so out children can be properly and equally educated.
Lisa May 15, 2011 at 01:49 PM
Agreed! Class size will go UP, our property values will go DOWN. Voting down our school budget won't influence the price of fuel or food----which is controlled by...the Federal Gov't and hurting our pickets more than the 140.00 a year that it will cost us to continue the functioning of our school system. That is where the problem lies. The bigger question is can a country be democartic with an economic structure based on capitalism? Hmmmmmm?
Forever Hauppauge May 15, 2011 at 03:13 PM
Hate to break it to all of you but Forest Brook third grade classes are operating at around 30 to 32 children in one class. We should not be firing our teachers, but administrators have to go. Do the math! Superintendents - 140K to 261K, four of them, Principals 140K to 175K, Directors 120K to 165K, Assistant Directors 120K to 145K, Chair People 100K to 135k. Twenty five administrators and then some. You all laughing yet, the administrators are all getting raises, it's in their contracts, the Superintendents took voluntary pay cuts for 2011-2012 but not any of the administrators. Let's face it our district just like many others on the Island are too top heavy. I have lived in this district for 24 years now. When I moved here there was a Superintendent and a Assistant Superintendent. Then they moved their offices to the middle school, after about 2 years they moved to Whippworl. What happens if you give a horder more space? That's right more staff.
Forever Hauppauge May 15, 2011 at 03:36 PM
Did I forget to mention that we are going to save about 23K just on the voluntary pay cuts from just our four Superintendents. Imagine how much we would save on the rest of the administrators? Too many Directors, Assistant Directors, Chair People, and too many Superintendents. Enough already, they got to go, bottom line is we can't afford them. Chop Chop at the Top! Teachers are also going to have to feel some heat as well on salary. If you have just so much money to go around they also have to be willing to compromise. We have to realistic, down sizing starting at the top getting rid of these outrageous salaries. CHOP, CHOP AT THE TOP! CHOP CHOP AT THE TOP!
Haup21 May 15, 2011 at 09:51 PM
Did you realize that NON-Professional salaries increase by 14% in one year in Hauppauge from 2009 to 2010. 14% increases for WHAT ? We could have save $1M if we used that year as an example... Info is below on every non professional salary for 2009 - 2010 ...... Do you know how many teaching positions this could have saved us and reduced our class sizes... From seethroughny.net.. 2009 2010 Incr $ Incr % 7,534,005 8,582,379 1,048,374 14%
barbara May 16, 2011 at 12:27 PM
Nancy Drew -- I couldn't agree with you more! The current Board and Superintendent need to GO!


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