It's not your imagination if your kid's year-round class size looks larger than normal.
As noted in today's article, some year-round schools have classes of more than 30 students while others are in the high 20s. The state's budget shortfall is being blamed for much of the problem for the larger class sizes.
"We don't have a lot of flexibility with staffing as we have had in the past," said Shelly Watson, principal of Green Elementary School in North Raleigh.
To guard against a 5 percent state funding cut, Wake told principals to only fill 95 percent of positions. While traditional-calendar schools can wait it out until Aug. 25 to see if the state budget is adopted, year-round schools that opened Tuesday have to work under these budget challenges.
One example is Salem Elementary School in Apex, where Principal Savon Willard said enrollment is about the same as last year. But she said she's got funding for 38 teaching positions, compared to 43 last school year.
Willard said she ran into a problem deciding what to do with 44 students in two Track 3 fourth-grade classes that ended the school year last week. She said she didn't have the funding to operate two fifth-grade classes on Track 3.
Willard said she knew about the problem months ago and began asking those Track 3 parents if they'd voluntarily switch tracks. This dropped this year's Track 3 fifth-grade class to 31 students.
Willard is still hoping that some of those remaining parents will change tracks to drop the size further. She said she's trying to avoid involuntarily changing tracks.
Just about every Wake school, including Salem Elementary, has a state waiver giving permission to exceed 29 students in grades 4-9. But Wake is still supposed to maintain a districtwide average of no more than 29 students in those grades.
Depending on the budget, we could see class and even track reorganizations at year-round schools.