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School districts asking for waiver on classroom size

Feb 7, 2012 - By Christina George Staff Writer

With an average of 18.1 students per teacher in K-3 classrooms, Fremont County School District 24 will be one of two local districts to seek a waiver from the state law that requires smaller class sizes in lower grade levels.

"We've already applied for the waiver and will be hiring a one-half position," said Shoshoni superintendent Tammy Cox.

School District 25 also will seek a waiver from the 16-1 student-to-teacher ratio required by a 2011 law. The Riverton district has the highest student-to-teacher ratio in K-3 statewide, with an average of 19.3 students per teacher. To come under the 16-1 requirement, School District 25 would need to hire 10 additional educators.

At the start of the current academic year, all but Dubois and Fort Washakie school districts did not meet the 16-1 requirement.

Shoshoni and Riverton remain the only districts in Fremont County with an average class size above the 16-1 requirement in K-3.

Riverton reported the highest ratio in Fremont County at 24.2-to-1. Lander followed at 19-to-1.

Like most districts, Lander hired additional staff and has since been able to tighten up its classroom sizes to about 15.8-1.

Cox said the district added a part-time position after a review of projected enrollment numbers of 2011-12 suggested Shoshoni would be over the 16-to-1 figure. But because of an increase in student numbers in the fall, the district will have to add the extra one-half position.

"The position will be for next fall," she said.

Space is tight

Because of space limitations in the current facility, Cox said there are classrooms with two instructors team teaching. The person hired next fall will also have to team-teach with a current educator.

"The rooms are less than 600 square feet," Cox said.

To help with the situation, the school is also using a modular classroom. Districts have until March 15 to submit a waiver to the Wyoming Department of Education explaining why they did not meet the 16-1 requirement.

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