School District Votes to Keep Small Class Sizes for K―3rd

The Los Alamitos Unified School District approved a plan to stay in the State's Class Size Reduction Program.

All kids grow, but that doesn’t mean their classes have to.

The Los Alamitos Unified School District board of education decided to keep kindergarten through third grade classes under 24 pupils per teacher for 2012-2013.

The decision came as part of a unanimous vote Wednesday to again take part in the California class size reduction program, a state program that provides special funds to schools that keep the ratio of students to teachers low.

Board members said despite some state funding cuts to the program, they’d stay with it.

Board president Meg Cutuli said it would be difficult and that the district would have to be "hanging on to 'one to 24.' ... with our fingernails."

However, Cutuli said, current and future students would benefit from the board's decision.

“It’s a very challenging one, but we truly believe we can give K-3 the kind of support that it needs,” Cutuli said.

According to the district, a low teacher-to-student ratio increases student attention, lowers discipline problems and improves teacher’s morale.

Board member Dr. Jeffrey Barke said there are many reasons to keep the program going, especially since small classes “really allow our kids to have that opportunity to succeed,” Barke said.

Barke added that he would love to see all classes K-12 have smaller class sizes.

According to Barke, California's economic problems make it difficult to maintain the program along with other district activities.

“The state budget system is broken, and unfortunately and the people that suffer the most are the children.”

The state’s class size reduction program was established in 1996.

The program affects Los Alamitos Unified School District’s six elementary schools: McGaugh Elementary, Los Alamitos Elementary, Rossmoor Elementary, Weaver Elementary, Lee Elementary and Hopkinson Elementary.

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