Montebello Unified class sizes are shrinking this year – Whittier Daily News

Class sizes for Montebello Unified students are shrinking – up to 11 and 13 fewer students per class in some elementary classes – under a new deal with the teachers’ union.

The district school board voted unanimously on Wednesday, September 1 to approve a new contract with the teachers. It also addresses issues related to the coronavirus and back to school and only applies to the 2021-22 school year.

Class size provisions will come into effect in the second month of the school year, around mid-September.

“This is a significant reduction in class sizes for students,” Acting Superintendent Mark Skvarna said. “The end result will make teaching a lot more manageable. Children will receive a lot more attention.

Prior to the new contract, elementary kindergarten to transition four students had an average pupil-teacher ratio of 33-1, and fifth-grade classes had up to 34 in an average class. The new class sizes, depending on grade level, are:

• Classes of traditional knowledge and kindergarten, on average 20 per class

• From the first to the third year, 22 per class

• Fourth year, 29

The reductions are lower in the higher grades. Fifth-graders will go from a student-teacher ratio of 34: 1 to 29: 1; and most grades six to eight will have an average of 30 students per class instead of 34.

Most high school classes will be reduced from 36 students per teacher to 31.

The contract also provides an allowance of $ 350 for teaching supplies, personal protective equipment and disinfection of all classrooms and workplaces, including air purifiers.

It also provides a stipend of $ 500 for any teacher who has a combined class of more than one year.

The contract is expected to cost nearly $ 19 million, Skvarna said, the district can afford the cost with the additional $ 20.1 million the district receives from the federal government.

From a public health perspective, David Navar, president of the Montebello Teachers Association, said reducing class sizes will help in a pandemic.

“It’s a good idea to help keep everyone safe by reducing class sizes so that we can more easily walk away from this still ongoing pandemic,” Navar said. “We will have cases, but fewer people will likely need to be quarantined. “

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