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Star Tribune writers tracking education issue

Osseo considers small class sizes for grades K-3

Osseo’s superintendent recommended using a budget surplus to invest more than $1 million in smaller class sizes in kindergarten through third grade for next year.

At a board meeting Tuesday, a member said the addition of classroom teachers is the highlight of the proposed budget.

Barb Olson, a spokeswoman for the district, said the recommendation involves a “strategic investment” that means not all classrooms will reduce in size. It also won’t involve cuts or class size caps, she said. The goal is to redistribute appropriately to make sure students are reading at grade level.

“We know that if students are reading at grade level by grade three, they are more likely to have success in later grades,” Olson said.

Robert Gerhart, vice chairperson of the school board, wrote a blog post about the decision. Although the district doesn’t have the resources to reduce classes sizes in higher grades, he said this is a start.

“I plan to support this action,” Gerhart wrote. “The function of the school district is to educate students, and class size is one of the few variable for which there is little disagreement about the return on investment in terms of student achievement.”

The school board will decide whether or not to take action on the recommendation at a meeting on Feb. 16.

Advocacy group will not take action against Sergio Paez's former school district

An advocacy organization that alleged abuse at a school in Holyoke, Mass., will not take action against the school district, according to local news reports.

Sergio Paez, the former superintendent of Holyoke, was selected to lead the Minneapolis school district in December, but the school board rescinded its offer after the allegations surfaced

The Disability Law Center in Massachusetts announced this week it would not take legal action against the district after it alleged staff at a school hit and physically abused students with disabilities. 

As part of its agreement with the organization, the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, which has control of the Holyoke district, will limit the use of restraints and seclusion of students in the school and make improvements to the Peck School building, according to MassLive.com. 

Paez has denied any wrongdoing. In an article in MinnPost this week, Paez called the Disability Law Center's claims "sensationalized allegations."

"Unfortunately, the whole process of my selection was compromised when perception became more prevalent than facts," he said.
 

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