The is looking to increase class sizes next year in grades four through eight for the next two school years.
To increase class sizes, the district would have to apply for a waiver from the state Department of Education.
The board of trustees will hold a hearing at its next meeting, 7 p.m. April 27, during which the public may comment about the prospect of larger classes.
The state regulates class sizes for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Capistrano Unified is already at state-allowed maximums.
A specific proposal will not be presented at the public meeting, said district spokesman Marcus Walton. “It is a negotiated item” that will be hammered out between the board’s labor negotiator and representatives from the teachers union, the Capistrano Unified Education Association, he said.
The teachers’ current contract calls for the following students-to-teacher ratios throughout the grades:
- Kindergarten: 30.5 students to 1 teacher
- Grades 1-5: 31.5 students to 1 teacher
- Grades 6-8: 32.5 students to 1 teacher
- Grades 9-12: 34.5 students to 1 teacher
The district rounds up the .5 student, Walton said.
At the April 11 board meeting, the trustees approved approaching the teachers union to reopen discussions on two items in their current contract: wages and class sizes. In addition, the union has asked to reopen talks regarding its members' health and welfare benefits.
The district is preparing its 2011-12 budget based on a deficit. In addition, the district needs cut to balance the books.
The district is already behind its own budget timeline the board approved on Feb 8. At its first April meeting, the board was supposed to have heard an update on the budget’s development, review the risks in light of multi-year projections and assumptions, refine potential budget reductions and give feedback to staff. None of this was on the agenda.
In addition, the district had originally scheduled three community forums to invite public input into the budgeting process. The meetings were originally scheduled for March 14, March 21 and March 28. Those meetings have since been reduced to one meeting and rescheduled twice. It’s now planned for May 5.
“The budget will return to the agenda when staff has new information to report,” Walton said when asked why the district is behind its self-imposed timeline. “The budget situation is constantly in flux.”