Eden Prairie class sizes will be a little smaller

  • Article by: PATRICE RELERFORD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 29, 2007 - 10:18 AM

The district is spending $1.2 million to hire nine new teachers and it will retain 10 others, which should reduce class sizes slightly.

Students in Eden Prairie may notice fewer desks in their classes when they return to school next week.

Eden Prairie will spend about $1.2 million to hire nine new instructors and will keep 10 teachers whom the district had expected to lose because of budget tightening. That will allow the school system to reduce class sizes by one to two students districtwide, school district spokeswoman Camie Melton Hanily said.

The district expects to enroll 9,703 students this fall, up from 9,790 students during the 2006-07 school year.

Eden Prairie's class size ranges for kindergarten through 12th grade are:

• 22-24 students in kindergarten

• 23-25 students in grade 1

• 25-27 students in grade 2

• 26-28 students in grade 3

• 28-30 students in grade 4

• 29-31 students in grades 5-6

• 30-32 students in grades 7-8

• 29-34 students in grades 9-12

Hanily said those ranges will remain the same this school year. But "before our class sizes were closer to the top of that range. Now they'll be closer to the bottom of that range."

Minnesota Department of Education spokeswoman Becca Stark said school districts are subject to a learning and development law that requires districts to spend a portion of their general education revenue on reducing the size of elementary classes, starting with grades K-3, with a goal of 17 students per instructor.

According to the State Department of Education, Eden Prairie will receive $2,052,293 during the 2008 fiscal year for that purpose, as part of its general education revenue. But Stark said "it is a local decision" whether a district wants to use additional local funds to reduce class sizes.

Hanily said the $1.2 million would be spent in addition to the state revenue Stark described.

The Eden Prairie school board approved the expenditure earlier this summer as it finalized the district's approximately $100 million budget for the 2007-08 school year.

"I would say our class sizes have been challenging districtwide," Hanily said. "We know this is something our staff wants and our parents want."

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