Table of Contents

 
  Section F

 

Our Early Grade Class Size Reduction initiative, supported by State and Federal funds, is continuing at a higher funding level. In the Governor's proposed budget, the State Early Grade Class Size Reduction Program funding is held at the FY'01 level. Pending legislative change requirements associated with State funding remain restrictive in nature. State dollars must first be used to maintain FY'00 and FY'01 class size reduction efforts. State resources may not be used for professional development activities, administrative costs, OTPS (except as noted below), support staff, and supplemental classroom or non-classroom teachers.

Federal class size reduction dollars increased by $16 million. Federal dollars should first be dedicated to maintaining FY'01 class size reduction efforts, and then to create new classes or hire supplemental teachers if dollars permit. Federal dollars may be used for professional development activities and administrative costs. However, Federal resources may not be used to cover OTPS start-up costs.

While State funds must be used to open new classes, we understand that in many schools, there are significant space constraints. This is compounded by the State Class Size Reduction Program's design of only allowing the creation of new classes according to greatest need (regardless of space constraints) and the inability to utilize teaching methods that create smaller group instruction. As was the case last year, we will again try to neutralize this negative effect by exchanging State and Federal funds between overutilized and underutilized schools.

The Deputy Chancellor for Instruction will shortly issue comprehensive guidelines for the implementation of the State and Federal Class Size Reduction initiatives. These guidelines will be critical to your efforts and will address all facets of implementation. Furthermore, you will also be asked to develop a District-specific implementation plan that is school and grade specific.


ALLOCATION
Allocations provide teacher positions at the district's average teacher salary. Districts will be required to budget all teacher positions at their average. The State and Federal early grade class size reduction programs will be included in all average teacher salary calculations and adjustments.

Since these programs result in new hires, their teacher costs are expected to be below the average. Conversely, since an average is being employed, the costs for all other teachers (in the "big" budget) should be higher than the average. To allow the use of an average teacher salary, funds will be moved out of "big" teacher budget and into the class size reduction budget. At the end of the year, expected average teacher salary accruals in the class size reduction budget should offset overages on the average teacher salary lines of the "big" budget.

State Program: Early grade class size reductions in schools identified in FY'00 as "Priority A" must be maintained. State funds are being allocated for this purpose. Allocations are in classroom units, which include the homeroom teacher, the preparation coverage teacher and absence coverage. The classroom units are prorated according to the October 31, 1999 early grade pupil enrollments in the targeted schools.

The remaining State funds also are distributed in classroom units based on the register of all early grade pupils, October 31, 2000.

Federal Program: A portion of the Federal early grade class size reduction funding supports the State initiative. This is necessary because the State under-funds their initiative (as is the case with Universal Prekindergarten). The balance of Federal funds is allocated in three streams:

  1. Teacher Positions,
  2. Professional Development, and
  3. Administration.

District allocations for all three parts will be based on the total early grade register, audited October 31, 2000. The teacher component distributes teacher positions. Districts may use the positions to reduce class size or, where space prevents this action, provide supplemental teacher instructional services.

Last year the initial allocation reflected a State-Federal funding exchange to enable districts with overcrowded schools to maintain FY'00 supplemental teacher instructional services in lieu of organizing additional classes. These positions may only be funded with Federal funds, since the State only permits the organization of additional classes. Furthermore, twice during the year to maximize services to children, we rearranged the distribution of Federal and State funding. Underutilized schools received more State funds and over utilized schools received more Federal funds. This policy will continue in FY'02.

Initial allocations presented in this section reflect 75% of the exchanges made last year. For each Federal teacher position added, one State classroom unit will be removed. Conversely, for each Federal teacher position removed, one State classroom unit will be added.

The professional development component will enable districts to implement staff training to support the early grade initiative. Federal guidance defines professional development as:

  • Helping teachers learn new skills that will help them take advantage of new options for instructional techniques that become available when class size is reduced.
  • Preparing teachers to work with diverse student populations, including students with disabilities and limited English proficiency.
  • Preparing teachers to work with parents in determining how best to help their children learn to high standards.
  • Developing programs that can be used as recruitment incentives to attract highly qualified teachers to high-poverty schools.
  • Providing high-quality pre-service clinical experience for students teachers who agree to teach in the LEA's school after they earn their teaching credentials.
  • Pairing new and veteran teachers in a program that involves interaction with faculties at nearby institutions of higher education.

Districts have flexibility in the use of the administration component resources. Uses may include costs associated with the annual "report card" that participating schools are required to present to parents, community and the State. The report card is to show how student achievement has been affected by the hiring of additional teachers and the reducing of class size.

Set Asides: Set aside from the administration pot are $300,000 for the Office of Early Childhood Education. A $5.0 million reserve has been created for teacher recruitment initiatives. Non-Public Schools share professional development funds in proportion to their pupil enrollment and poverty counts.

Budgeting: Budget scheduling rules enumerated in BOR Circular No. 1, 2001-02, "Cost Factors for FY 2002 for all Reimbursable Programs," are to be followed, but with two exceptions:

  • No indirect costs are to be scheduled, and
  • All teachers are to be scheduled at average teacher salary.

Guidelines for Calculating Class Size Reduction: Classes created through the State or Federal early grade class size reduction program may not include classes that would have been organized absent the program. For example, a school with a grade 1 enrollment of 40 students, under the Chancellor's early grade policy, would be required to organize two classes. Even though the average class size is 20 pupils, since the classes would have been organized anyway, State or Federal early grade class size reduction funds may not be used.

To assist districts/schools in determining whether classes may be claimed against the State and Federal early grade class size reduction budgets, a lookup table is provided on Table F:3. The table is intended as a guide. It is not inflexible. There are many situations that could result in different class formations, such as organizing bilingual classes. The goal is to prevent program disallowance.


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