Newsflash! Fewer Teachers Do Impact Class Size

On May 3, I was very critical of a newspaper story in the Independent Record because I felt it presented a very one-sided view about the need for cutbacks among teachers in the Helena School District. Despite District projections for increased numbers of student at every elementary school, the public was reassured that the proposed reductions “would not affect class sizes.”

On face, the claim made no sense. More students in every school, fewer teachers. Even I could tell that meant an impact on class sizes.

Flash forward less than four months and shock upon shock: elementary schools filled to capacity, with students being placed on waiting lists to get into their neighborhood schools and some classes seem likely to have a higher number of students than accreditation standards allow. According to the Independent Record, “Only two of the district’s 11 elementary schools — Warren, on York Road, and Bryant, near Helena High School — have space to accept more students.”

To be fair, it’s a good story, lacking only a little context. Given the District’s claim last April that students wouldn’t be affected, it’d be fair to ask them to explain the discrepancy. Another story, exploring why the District has chosen to hire additional non-teaching positions, following cutbacks and staffing concerns, also seems warranted.

Choices about budgets do matter.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.


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  • Waiting lists for school!!!??? That's absurd. How can people really support tax cuts when their children's education depends on it?
    Teachers, especially teachers in the Helena area, are so important. I know that without the education and support that I received from my teachers, I would not be where I am today. This is not fair, and it's not right.

  • Thanks a lot for being my personal instructor on this theme. My spouse and i enjoyed your own article greatly and most of all enjoyed reading how you really handled the aspect I widely known as controversial. You are always very kind to readers really like me and assist me in my lifestyle. Thank you.

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Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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