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Parents Express Concern About Class Sizes at Mill Creek

Parents say some kindergarten and first-grade classes have 27 or 28 students. Geneva School District officials monitoring the numbers closely.

Two Mill Creek residents made pleas to the Geneva School Board this week to do something about the class sizes for kindergarten and first grade at Mill Creek Elementary School.

During the public comment portion of Tuesday's Geneva District 304 School Board meeting, Melissa Swierczewski talked about what she called "the bubble of enrollment" at the school and asked the board to consider creating a third section for kindergarten.

"This is bigger than just my little guy," she said. "I'm speaking to you about the big picture, not just my one student."

Swierczewski said there were 27 student in her son's kindergarten class.

"Even the most wonderful teacher—even that teacher will not have (a chance to succeed with 27 students.) There are too many little minds to engage under those conditions," she said.

"It’s these little students who will be representing District 304 just a few short years from now," she said. "Let’s continue that tradition of excellence."

Swierczewski said she was a former educator, so she knows firsthand how important class size is to a quality learning environment. She said 15 is the optimum number of students per class, and results decrease with every student over that number.

She said she understands that the School Board has to look at the big picture, but in this case, she said, "I discourage your from thinking big. Instead, think small."

Another Mill Creek Elemetary School mom told the board that her son's first-grade class has 28 students. She said the class went from two teachers to one with a shared aide.

"My concern is that my child is not getting the education that he needs," she said. "It is not acceptable to have 30 students (in an early-education classroom.)"

Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Craig Collins said the district is seeing an increase in the number of preschool students. He said the administration closely monitors the enrollment numbers and will come back to the board for with a recommendation, "if we need to add or reduce sections."

"We didn’t anticipate this increase in preschool," he said. "We’ll have to see if this is a trend or a momentary blip."

Thomas June 03, 2012 at 11:17 AM
Interesting Bob, based on your data 1.4% of $39,651 is $555 putting district costs at roughly $40,206 and It is my understanding that the insurance costs to the district varies based on the actual health plan the employee chooses i.e. Individual or Familly, HMO or PPO, and some choose not to be covered at all because they prefer to be covered under the private sector insurance of their spouse. That would make it difficult to make the blanket statement that all new hires cost the district $70,000. Couldn't you give us exact #'s on health insurance costs to the district? Also doesn't private sector employers have to contribute 6.2% to their employees social security retirement? How is it that schools get away with just 1.4% toward retirement? Good thing teachers don't pay into Social Security. Could you imagine if the district had to pay almost 5x what they currently do for teacher retirement benefits? Oh and by the way the website www.familytaxpayers.org has the pay of every teacher in the state not just Geneva and probably not that creepy tracking software that keeps tabs on everyone that visits their site.
Bob McQuillan June 03, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Thomas Here is your list of teachers salary and benefit costs from last year. http://www.genevataxfacts.org/attachments/article/49/2010-2011%20Teachers%20Salary%20and%20Benefits.pdf So now add an 12% for the increase in medical premiums this year and you are climbing toward that $70k. You certainly aren't close to $40k in overall costs. We don't track people who are on our website.
Patrick June 04, 2012 at 07:07 PM
I agree with what Derek is saying 100%. Everyone keeps blaming the teachers for everything where its the board and administrators who need to figure this out with the means that they have. After all, how much do they make? Hundreds of thousands of dollars, WAAAY too much that is for darned sure. Come on Mr. Collins, this snuck up on you? Is there a communication gap amongst Geneva feeder schools and 304 itself. That is the problem. Fix administration!!!
Susan June 14, 2012 at 12:17 PM
I'm sorry to tell you, this is no longer the 1950's, more is required from our children today, AND at an earlier age. We're you doing algebra in 1st grade? I sure wasn't and I attended elementary school in the late 70's early 80's. In the 1950's children who were disruptive were either paddled or sent home, that isn't done today, so when you have 30 children in a class, and 4 are acting out due to different disorders, it takes the one teacher away from the other 26 students. My priorities are set, and they are to see that my child receives a proper education, and is in the optimum environment. Every other grade in the school has three teachers per grade, EXCEPT ours, there is something wrong with that.
Kelli Trejo February 20, 2013 at 03:59 PM
We are in Batavia and are Zone 20 on the Boundary map. The District is attempting to shift the boundary and move us to Western, as you have suggested. My baby is in 3rd grade at Williamsburg. We had 2 children before her and we are a double-income family. Working full-time and living so far from school (any school), I have great difficulty getting to know school staff, other children's parents and even the other children for that matter. Uprooting kids is an easy fix for you since I am guessing you are not in my situation. It would, however, be harmful to my child as the move would be equivalent to moving out of District. The children in 8a at least have neighbors attending Fabyan. Those are kids they likely already see at the local park or perhaps even ride bikes with. Our children are outsiders all the way around. We don't have the benefit of already knowing others at any new school. Maybe a phased plan to move the kids so as not to uproot those with some history at Williamsburg would be beneficial? Begin the move with the kidergarteners or new families in District. This would allow for a gradual change and no one would be affected by the move. That is unless the District plans on shifting us again in a few years?

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