The Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees on Monday approved a class size waiver for 10 elementary school campuses that have classrooms that exceed the 22-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio.
Districts must submit a waiver to the state if it surpasses that ratio.
In all there are 29 classrooms that surpass that limit.
While Buddy Bonner, assistant superintendent of employee services, said 29 is still more than LISD would like to have, he said two nearby districts have reported having requested 130 and 215 waivers.
“We're doing our best to keep things as small as possible,” Bonner said.
Bonner said the district has done several things over the years to keep the waiver requests to a minimum.
For one, he said the district’s staffing system considers all student transfers LISD allows. He said the district examines choice programming before allocating teachers as it relates to student transfers. And he said the district monitors the enrollment projections in the summer.
Trustee Tracy Miller said he's happy to see the number of waivers lower than it was in past years – 62 in 2013-14 and 74 in 2014-15. He said back then many of those waivers went to high-needs campuses.
“We've done a good job at those high-needs campuses of getting the teachers in and staffed accordingly,” Miller said.
But he said this is the third straight year of an increase in waivers, going back to just four in 2016-17.
He and Trustee Angie Cox said they were concerned about 10 campuses requiring waivers for kindergarten through second grade. Miller suggested looking at putting some money toward teachers where it makes sense next year.
Superintendent Kevin Rogers said the district monitors the numbers and won't hesitate to add a teacher if it's necessary.
“We have it built in with some flexibility,” Rogers said. “But at the same time we'll have some of those where it's one class that has one (student) over. So you have to understand the disruption that might be caused for a kid that's been in the classroom for 10 or 11 weeks all of a sudden going to a new classroom because you're one over. But I promise you we don't like it, and we pay close attention to it.”
Of the 29 classes LISD requested waivers for, 21 were over the limit by one student.
Bonner said the district works with principals when their campus has classrooms that go over the ratio and has at times provided substitutes to help.
Trustee Jenny Proznik said she doesn't want to see the same campuses at the first- through third-grade levels requesting waivers next year.
“I think there should be some planning in place,” Proznik said. “Kindergarten is always a surprise. But if you give a waiver to a kindergarten class you can almost guarantee that child will more than likely move up to first grade. So we should be making those accommodations so they're not showing back up the following year.”
Rogers said while the district can address external moves it would be hard to promise those grade levels wouldn't have a class with one student over the limit again.
Classes that require a waiver
Bluebonnet K 1 class at 23
Bluebonnet 3rd 2 classes at 23, 2 classes at 24
Bluebonnet 4th 3 classes at 23
Camey 1st 1 class at 23
Castle Hills K 2 classes at 23
Castle Hills 1st 1 class at 23
Castle Hills 4th 1 class at 23
Garden Ridge 2nd 2 classes at 23
Garden Ridge 3rd 1 class at 23
Hicks 4th 1 class at 23, 2 classes at 24
Highland Village K 1 class at 23
McAuliffe 4th 1 class at 23, 2 classes at 24, 1 class at 25
Old Settler’s 1st 1 class at 23
Prairie Trail 1st 1 dual language class at 23
Prairie Trail 2nd 1 class at 23
Southridge 2nd 1 dual language class at 23, 1 dual language class at 24