Schools want smaller classes

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 14, 2005

Reducing class sizes throughout the school system is the recommended top funding priority in the Suffolk Public School’s supplemental budget.

The school system’s administrative staff, in making its recommendations to the Suffolk School Board during Thursday’s work session, called for spending about $1.7 million to hire additional math and science teachers.

Specifically, the recommendation calls for hiring 24 new teachers – 13

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for the elementary schools, nine for the

middle schools and two earth science teachers for the high schools.

&uot;I think class size reduction should be a part of our regular budget, not that we can do anything about it this year,&uot; said board member William Hill. &uot;In the future, it should not continue being an addendum.&uot;

Other big ticket items in the $8.6 million supplemental budget include:

*Replacing outdated technology.

The school division’s annual computer replacement plan will replace 730 computers at an estimated cost of $876,000.

*Annual maintence costs around Suffolk schools make up nearly $1 million of the supplemental budget.

Noticing that the annual cost of renewing maintenance contracts for HVAC and chiller units costs an estimated $312,000, School Board Chairwoman Lorraine Skeeter asked about the possibilities of getting an extended contract rather that renewing them annually.

Skeeter said maintenance expenses should be part of the school division’s regular budget.

*The supplemental budget includes funding to purchase enough elementary math and science textbooks that students would have two sets on books – one to use

at school, another to use at home.

The goal is to encourage better study habits and more parental involvement, school officials said.

*Other new elementary programs included in the supplemental budget include a strings music program, a foreign language curriculum and expansions of reading and gifted programs.

Three music teachers and three foreign language teachers are included in the costs for each of the new programs.