Saturday, June 14, 2008


A few weeks back one of the readers of this blog sent us an e-mail with her concerns about the size of the kindergarten classes at Roy-Hart. That issue, which you read here first, was in the local press on Friday...

ROY-HART: Kindergarten class sizes concern some parents

Royalton-Hartland School District could be seeing an increase in kindergarten enrollment, and that has some parents worried about classroom sizes.As of right now, the district is projecting 108 kindergartners to be enrolled in the fall of this year. Currently, there are five kindergarten teachers in the district. Class sizes would average about 22 students per class, and a few residents at Thursday’s Board of Education meeting voiced concerns they had about how a larger class size would affect the students.

Resident Heidi Wolf said she had a daughter who was heading into kindergarten in the fall, and another daughter who is in first grade.“I have a daughter who is in first grade who did benefit from a smaller class size,” Wolf said. “She needed a little extra help when she was in kindergarten, and she was able to get that. I’m concerned my little one won’t get that next year.”

Don DiBenedetto of Gasport said he had a daughter who was also going into kindergarten in the fall. He asked the board what it would do to keep the class size small, saying other schools in the state average a lower number than 22 students per kindergarten class. “Most of the schools in this area, this year have been at 20 or less,” he said. “The state average is, I believe, 19.9.”

DiBenedetto presented the board with a petition signed by community members who were concerned about the class sizes. Three other residents also commented to the board about the kindergarten class sizes.

Board President Patricia Riegle addressed the residents during the first public forum. She said the total kindergarten enrollment as of the meeting was at 108 students, but that could change daily. It is a concern and it is being taken into consideration, she said. “There has been conversation, and there will continue to be conversation,” Riegle said. “I can only ask you to be patient with us a little bit longer. It’s very early; we’re trying to close out one year and open up a new one. Let us see what does happen.” She added hiring was probably not done yet, and positions would be filled as needed.

Letters telling parents who their child’s kindergarten teacher is are sent out in June. Superintendent Paul Bona said he would allow the kindergarten class assignments to be sent as normal, based on five teachers. Bona said the assignments were tentative and could change in August, if the district sees a need to add a class.