- We are very fortunate to be able to offer so many learning opportunities and experiences for our students. In the 12 days leading up to Christmas break, we would like to take time to remember our blessings and countdown just some of the opportunities students, families, staff and the community have by being a part of CPS.
Day 9 ~ Small Class Sizes
Maintaining small class sizes over the last several years has been a challenge but one we are happy we we were able to accomplish. Since 2008, Oklahoma school funding has decreased by 28%, meaning the state is spending about $1000 per child less today than it was ten years ago. During this same period, state enrollment has increased by over 50,000 students. Adding to this issue has been the teacher shortage which has affected all schools throughout the state. These three factors have caused class sizes to increase in many of our neighboring districts.
Although these factors have been difficult to navigate, we have continued to make it a priority to keep our teacher-to-student ratio small. Our Pre-K through 5th grade classes have consistently averaged 21-22 students per class, while our 6th – 12th grade classes generally average 22-23 students per class. Neighboring districts at times have seen some of their class sizes reach 30 – 35 students per class. The ability to keep these teacher-to-student ratios at a low number is a great benefit to our students.
Many factors have come into play to allow us to continue to accomplish this goal. The community’s support of our latest bond project, Tiger Vision 2016, has played a large role in lowered class sizes. This bond provided money to fund new roofs and air conditioners for our middle and high school, new buses, and an energy management system throughout the district. These things have significantly reduced our yearly maintenance costs and helped regulate our utilities expenditures giving us the ability to use those funds for other things, taking some of the strain off of our building and general funds budget.
Additionally, building staff members have pulled together, looking for areas they could help save money without losing programs. Although we still provide teachers a substitute when needed, building staff often cover classes for each other to save money in this area. Partnerships with our community and our teacher driven CPIE organization provide grants to teachers, allowing them to purchase supplies for supplemental educational ideas they want to use in their classrooms. Building administrators pour over student numbers each spring, looking for subject areas that can be consolidated to make better use of our staff and resources. Each of these examples play a role in continuing our small class sizes.
Small teacher-to-student ratios have been a priority and will remain so for us. As we make our decisions based on what is best for our students, this is an area that we have refused to compromise, and we are very proud of the fact we have continued to accomplish this goal during difficult financial times.