To The Daily Sun,
(NOTE: The following open letter to members of the Laconia School Board was submitted for publication.)
The front page story "12 School Jobs May Be Cut," in The Laconia Daily Sun on Feb. 12 states that these cuts are necessary to meet budget requirements of the city's tax cap. Superintendent Mr. McCormack's comment that class size will remain within "acceptable standards or a maximum of 25 students per class for kindergarten through second grade and a maximum of 30 students for grades 3, 4, and 5" does not provide me solace.
First, according to my review of the state Department of Education website, I could not find an enrollment policy that states the standard that was listed in the article. I would ask the board to inquire from our superintendent as to the source of these "acceptable standards."
Second, current studies support a 15-1 ratio in K-3 and 22.4 to 24.5 ratio in grades 4-5 (National Educational Policy Center).
Third, when I taught science at Laconia High School, I had enrollments of 30 students. Even at a high school level, such numbers were less than ideal in providing a quality education. As principal of Belmont High School, with support from then Superintendent Mike Cozort, we kept class size at Belmont High between 20 and 25.
In conclusion, I implore the board to find the means to reduce the teacher/student ratio from what is projected in this article. If there needs to be a higher ratio, then additional classroom aides are needed to support those classrooms.
Having class sizes within Superintendent McCormack's standard is a folly that will have long-term effects on our local youth.
Belmont High Principal, Retired
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