The Coachella Valley Unified School District laid off 54 teachers over the summer. It recently recinded 18 of the those pink slips thanks to money it expects to receive from the federal jobs bill that sought to protect teachers, but even with those educators, class sizes are growing. Grades one through 12 will increase into the low 30s per teacher according to District officials. Kindergarten classes will hold about 25 students for every teacher. Last year, the District said it had 20 kindergarters for every teacher.
Coachella Valley Unified School District Superintendent Ricardo Medina says, “It’s extremely frustrating…we keep losing funding.”
Desert Sands Unified School District was expecting to layoff the most of any nearby district. Over the summer they handed out 155 pink slips to teachers. Yet, because of how many teachers were entitled to lucrative retirement package, 133 of the laid-off teachers were given back their jobs.
Despite that reversal, classroom sizes will increase however. Teachers will have anywhere from 31 to 34 students per classroom.
The same goes for the Palm Springs Unified School District. Class sizes have increased, but the district has also started its first charter school.
Three weeks ago, students began their first school year at the Cielo Vista Charter School.
Fifth-grade teacher Jeffrey Ballew said, “We felt this could be a place for change, where we could really make change happen.
Students like fifth-grader Sharina Agriam, said they like the new format.
“I want to learn more about what I’m going to be when I’m older, she said. “I want to be smarter in the future.”
The new charter school focuses on technology, curriculum flexiblity, project-based learning and a three month on, one month off schedule. The school currently has 756 enrolled, but has room for more.
For more information on the Cielo Vista Charter School call 760-416-8250.