By Josh Resnek
The School Department is speeding ahead with efforts to hire back several dozen teachers and aids in order to shrink the size of classrooms which had been ballooning since the School Department cut 100 teachers and aids before the present school year began.
Although awaiting the city council’s affirmative action to release $2.5 million to make the hiring possible, the School Department was already in a major hiring mode, according to Assistant Superintendent of Schools Kevin Shaw.
The council is expected to approve the mayor’s request at its November 13 meeting.
“The mayor’s release of the funding allows us to take the harsh edge off of classrooms with too many students. With this money we will substantially alter the situation. In some schools where 30 or more students occupy a classroom, the number will be cut to 22 or 23,” Shaw said.
Shaw and Assistant School Superintendent Charlie Obremski delivered analysis and funding requirements to the School Finance Commission during its Thursday meeting at city hall.
Shaw detailed each and every school’s need and resultant classroom size following the hirings now being sought.
Shaw did this several times at different public meetings during the past two weeks.
Everett’s school population continues to grow, causing overcrowding at some elementary schools.
Year to year underfunding has also led to difficulties with staffing levels to match educational needs. According to educational experts, larger classroom size is responsible for failing students and lower test scores.
“This money allows us to reduce classroom size. I’m breathing a sigh of relief,” said Shaw.
Obremski said the principals are in the process of interviewing candidates. He said the effort is to get the most highly qualified candidates to sign on.
The principals are now conducting interviews.
“I am very happy the School Finance Commission recommended the money to be approved. It will definitely bene t students in the Everett public schools. Cutting classroom size allows us to make sure our kids keep up their good work and to keep their test scores higher,” Obremski said.