BURLINGTON – One month after adding a first grade class, the School Committee unanimously approved a request to add another second grade class at Fox Hill Elementary School.
Most people knew enrollment at Fox Hill Elementary School was a problem, but the surging classroom capacity figures are pushing the school’s limits, quite literally.
School Supt. Dr. Eric Conti informed the School Committee that Fox Hill Elementary School had 17 new registrations one week prior to this past Tuesday.
“We are continuing to see growth,” Dr. Conti admitted. “Grade 2 at Fox Hill has increased to 83 students and we still have time before the first day of school on Aug. 30.”
The School Committee’s ideal average classroom size is less than 20, but the number stood at 21 in first grade at Fox Hill before a fifth grade classroom was added last month. Now, the school’s second grade classroom average is around 21 students per class, so round two of finding classroom space is staring school officials directly in the face, yet again.
Dr. Conti formally requested adding a second grade class and teacher at Fox Hill Elementary School, due to enrollment growth.
“We are moving some specialist classes onto carts, which I hate to do, but we need room for one more class,” professed Dr. Conti. “This will add a position in our budget, so there is a financial impact, but we have no choice as this is the only way to keep class sizes down.”
“In grades K-2, having smaller class sizes is very important,” stressed Dr. Conti.
He further elaborated on worries regarding that first grade enrollment figure progressing and potentially inflating subsequent grades in the years to come.
“This news feeds into the narrative of why we are building a new Fox Hill Elementary School,” Dr. Conti pointed out.
There is good and bad news regarding the new Fox Hill Elementary School project. The good is that the Massachusetts School Building Authority is going to move forward and fund a portion of the massive undertaking, but the bad is the school likely won’t be built and ready for another five years.
“I will have to watch things closely with the kindergarden enrollment, as well,” Dr. Conti mentioned.
The School Committee obviously doesn’t prefer these actions being a necessity, but they are pleased with Dr. Conti’s handling of the situation. Figuring out how this position will be paid for is a top priority for the committee.
“We have to communicate with Ways & Means that this is an enrollment-driven hire,” School Committee Chair Thomas Murphy explained. “We will have to come forward with some money.”
The committee unanimously approved the authorization of a new second grade teacher and classroom at Fox Hill Elementary School.