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More Columbia pupils, fewer teachers projected

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Columbia County school officials expect to educate more pupils with fewer teachers next school year.

On Tuesday, the school board approved student and teacher projections in elementary and middle schools that estimate as many as 287 more pupils in those grades for the 2010-11 school year.

But the projections call for seven fewer teachers.

Nearly 16,200 pupils are expected to attend the county's elementary and middle schools next year, and they will be instructed by about 700 teachers.

The figures are based on the maximum number of pupils allowed by the state in each class. Twenty pupils are allowed in kindergarten classes, 21 in first through third grades and 28 in fourth through eighth grades.

Superintendent Charles Nagle also expects, as he did this school year, that Gov. Sonny Perdue will increase the maximum by two pupils in each grade level.

"We're trying to make every class as tight as we can," he said.

Mr. Nagle said he expects to lose as much as $8 million in state money as a result of budget cuts next school year. The system has already lost $13.8 million in state funds since last school year.

The system largely compensated for those cuts by increasing class sizes and eliminating 100 positions.

Though class sizes increased this year, many still did not reach the state maximum. That's why the school system can project enrolling more pupils while hiring fewer teachers, Mr. Nagle explained.

Board member Roxanne Whitaker worried that classes of 30 pupils would "diminish education opportunities because we're trying to cram kids into classrooms."

Though he acknowledged Mrs. Whitaker's concerns, Mr. Nagle said teachers are performing well this year and that he expects them to do as well next year.

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (20) Add comment
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LadyCisback
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LadyCisback 12/09/09 - 04:47 am
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are you kidding!!.. my

are you kidding!!.. my classes are 30 plus.. and we are a title I school...

Martinez
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Martinez 12/09/09 - 05:35 am
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I hope Nagle will rethink his

I hope Nagle will rethink his position on this. The sucess of many CC schools is one of the attractions for living in CC. If the school system sees those successes reduce, so to could the county tax base that helps pay for it.

Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 12/09/09 - 06:14 am
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It's not Nagle that's

It's not Nagle that's responsible, it's Perdue! Nagle is just doing what he's being mandated to do, and that is to make the system work with less..MUCH less! The quality of education WILL suffer, there's no getting around it. All it takes is one or two "bad" kids to disrupt what the teacher is trying to do in an already too-packed class. It's getting where I wouldn't mind getting with like-minded parents and hiring a teacher ourselves to teach our kids...that way the ratio would be more conducive to learning and we wouldn't have to put up with all the crud that the state is forcing. I guess that's why private schools and home-schooling is popular, huh?

scoobynews
3896
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scoobynews 12/09/09 - 08:22 am
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They can forget about the

They can forget about the "hands on" activities and the "tickets out the door". It will be enough just trying to keep that many children on task much less have time for rabbit tricks they expect you to play in order to get student attention. We are already running on limited supplies and adding more students to already over crowded classrooms will just make it worse. Not to mention your work load will increase. They make it sound good by saying 2 plus more students per class. That is all fine for teacher who has the same students all day but upper elementary, middle, and high will have 2xs per class period. If you have 5 periods x 2 extra students that is 10 extra students per teacher. That is just an estimate it could be 2 to 5 students per classroom. So now we will have more students and less pay. Way to increase teacher morale!

tigerhacker
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tigerhacker 12/09/09 - 08:25 am
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The assumption seems to be

The assumption seems to be that larger class sizes will lead to a decrease in achievement. Research studies on this question have produced mixed results. Perhaps we should wait to see if the increases in class size that occurred this year lead to a decline in test scores or other measures of achievement. Wouldn't it be interesting if they stayed the same or went up?

Mr. Thackeray
953
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Mr. Thackeray 12/09/09 - 09:23 am
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The administration CON is not

The administration CON is not well known: Average your special needs population classes into the numbers and they always look good. What are the class sizes of just REGULAR ed classrooms? You would be appalled.

In addition, the best and really ONLY solution is to eliminate administrators not teachers. Teaching in a class of 30 is a detriment to quality education no matter what the "suits" say!

up2nogood
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up2nogood 12/09/09 - 10:23 am
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Just My Opinion is right.

Just My Opinion is right. Nagle can only do what he can with what he has, wihch is a whole lot less than it used to be. The school board's only other option beyond letting go of posistions will be to raise taxes. How many of you are in favor of that? If you want something done about this, start callling or writing your state lawmakers and telling them to leave schools alone. Find other places to make cuts.

dstewartsr
20389
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dstewartsr 12/09/09 - 10:37 am
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This problem is the

This problem is the confluence of a number of factors. In no order of importance; first thing is the relative affluence of the government's tax base for the last three decades- the economy was good; tax collections went up regualarly, year after year, so the legislature came to rely on an ever-increasing budget number. Which is good, except when it doesn't. Like now. The previous would have not been harmful is the expenditures were managed with some sense of frugality; they weren't. Instead of capital improvements and investment, the money was basically ploughed into hiring more 'education facilitators' bureaucrat speak for administration; the numbers of of teachers remained for years as flat, relative to students, while vast office complexes were built and staffed. Then came the reduction of class size dance. Good concept; lousy execution. Truth is, it was needed; unlike days of old -- my generation-- where 35-40 kids were an average class, that number became simply too much to handle. Why? A teacher can only teach forty kids who are willing to be taught; in today's class there are three or four little delinquents who are backed by their parents.

dstewartsr
20389
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dstewartsr 12/09/09 - 10:38 am
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This last has somewhat

This last has somewhat justified the army of bureaucrats, but as it turns out, they are highly paid it seems to take the kids and parent's side and make life miserable for teachers, who if the people power are to be believed have time for nothing else than vendetta against future Chosen Ones in their classrooms. So because of the breakdown of family discipline, now we need twice as many teachers as in past years. While funding has gone up, it hasn't doubled while the need for teachers has. Subtract the overhead leeches, and we are at the current situation.

coolette
10
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coolette 12/09/09 - 10:38 am
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cut athletics!!!! Not

cut athletics!!!! Not academics!! We need small class sizes!!

imho1
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imho1 12/09/09 - 10:40 am
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This can't be true! ColCo is

This can't be true! ColCo is education paradise, the finest schools in the nation, no negative news is possible or allowed. Looks to me like a tax increase is on the way for the land of milk and honey.

scoobynews
3896
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scoobynews 12/09/09 - 10:55 am
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I say raise the taxes. If

I say raise the taxes. If ALL state workers have to take a hit then why not spread out the load to incluced EVERYONE in this state. State workers have families to support and bills to pay just like everyone else in Georgia. Why is it always let's cut some state jobs and NOT raise the taxes? The majority of people in this state went to a public school and graduated from a public school yet for some reason don't see it as their responsibility to help carry the load for the future generations. We need to start making renter's pay a "school tax" because public education is not free for those of us paying property taxes. Cut out these "tax free" holidays we have about twice a year because most of the time it is the teacher's giving kids the pencils they supposedly don't have and the paper they never seem to have.

corgimom
33965
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corgimom 12/09/09 - 11:09 am
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Scooby, absolutely- I bought

Scooby, absolutely- I bought pencils, 50 boxes of crayons, 50 spiral notebooks, erasers, and 100 glue sticks for the classroom. I'll be back for more glue sticks soon and we hope the crayons will hold out.

tigerhacker
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tigerhacker 12/09/09 - 12:31 pm
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Scooby, renters do pay

Scooby, renters do pay property taxes. The owners pay property taxes, and usually at a higher rate than homeowners. The landlords then pass those taxes on to the renters in the monthly rent. So, in the end, the renters are actually paying higher property taxes than you are. Using your logic, then, we should raise property taxes on homeowners to make it more fair. How much should we raise all these taxes?

Mr. Thackeray
953
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Mr. Thackeray 12/09/09 - 01:27 pm
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You know if administrators

You know if administrators were required to teach rather than just try and recall the few days they taught years ago, they would understand just how difficult it is to teach 30 kids in a class no matter who they are.

scoobynews
3896
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scoobynews 12/09/09 - 02:51 pm
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I never said to raise

I never said to raise HOMEOWNERS taxes. I meant taxes period. The whole state government is obviously in need of money. What I find interesting about your post TIGERHACKER is that you said the landlords pay higher rates then PASS those increases on to their renters. So in the end they are paying the rent and the LANDLORDS taxes. So the landlord basically pays no taxes because they get their renters to pay it for them. Gee that sure must be nice. Own a property get RENT and from what your saying then get your property taxes paid too. Landlords are coming out pretty well in that equation.

corgimom
33965
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corgimom 12/09/09 - 07:09 pm
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That's right, scooby. But

That's right, scooby. But very few landlords make money. It's a lot harder than you think to be a landlord.

austinevans
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austinevans 12/09/09 - 08:19 pm
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When I went to school there

When I went to school there were 40 students in a class---85% went on to college--what is the % now that there are only 15-20 om a class!

austinevans
0
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austinevans 12/09/09 - 08:21 pm
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Corg, I've been a landlord

Corg, I've been a landlord and it "ain't" shieet if you rent to half way decent people!

austinevans
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austinevans 12/09/09 - 08:23 pm
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Most landlords "hide" the

Most landlords "hide" the profit, so that they can show a loss and deduct it from their taxes--pretty good ploy!

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