Sizes Of Classrooms Remain On Minds Of Parents As Merger Vote Looms

Perhaps the biggest issue on voters’ minds as they ponder a possible merger of the Panama and Clymer school districts is the size of classes in a merged district.

Clymer has 46 teachers among its 102.1 staff members while Panama has 51.5 teachers among its 107.6 staff positions. That number of teachers is enough to allow both districts to offer small class sizes. Currently, elementary school class sizes are all less than 20 students in both districts with the exception of Clymer, which has an average of 23 children in two kindergarten classrooms. The districts both average 11 students per high school class.

TEACHING CHANGES

A proposed universal pre-kindergarten through sixth grade in a merged district would average 21 children in four kindergarten classes; 16 students in four first-grade classes; 17 students in four classrooms in second, third and fourth grades; 25 students in three fifth-grade classrooms and 22 students in three sixth-grade classrooms. Such a configuration would eliminate three overall teaching positions, with no changes to the number of special education teachers.

The biggest changes would be in high school, where the merged district would have four English teachers, five math teachers, six science teachers, four social studies teachers, two foreign language teachers, a business teacher, an agriculture teacher, a half-time therapist, one speech teacher, four physical education teachers, one physical education/health teacher, two technology teachers, two librarians, four music teachers, four art teachers, four intervention specialists, two guidance counselors, two nurses and no nurse’s aides.

There would be 11 fewer teachers in the merged high school than the high schools as currently constituted.

SUPPORT STAFF

A merged district would also carry 14 teacher/cafeteria aides, 14 teacher assistant TA positions and one head lifeguard/fitness position — an overall reduction of three such staff position.

The districts would need 22 bus drivers/mechanics, two more than currently on staff; two bus aides, one operation assistant, one food manager, two cooks, eight part-time food service workers, one district clerk, one head custodian, two mechanics/utilities workers; two UPK-12th grade secretaries, four clerical workers, 12 cleaners/utility workers; one groundsperson and four head custodian/custodian positions.

There would be one more food cook, four more food service workers and one fewer district clerk, head custodian and secretarial position.

ADMINISTRATION

A merged district would likely carry 4.2 fewer positions.

The feasibility study proposes no changes to the director of instruction and director of technolog positions, both of which are already shared between the districts. There would be one fewer treasurer needed, one full time business official instead of the current 1.2 positions the districts employ now and two fewer people in the business office staff. The model discussed in the feasibility study would also have one assistant principal/CSE chairperson, two principals covering UPK-12th grades; one secretary to the superintendent and one superintendent.

COST SAVINGS

In the first year, there could be a total of $1,346,800 savings with three fewer elementary school positions, 11 fewer middle/high school positions and 4.2 fewer administrative positions.

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