Part of the pattern of the Clark County School District’s (CCSD) constant attempts to get taxes raised is a steady flow of press releases sent out to reporters for the purpose of bolstering its case.
Typically the Las Vegas liberal press parrots the release, verbatim, without any research. Often what is not said is more important than what is said. In a January 2014 press release CCSD asserted “The current school year opened with five of the schools teaching more than 1,000 students on campuses intended for 725 children.” Insiders know
this to be an outright lie as schools are actually designed to house 900 students in year-round classes. In my last article, on “Count Day,” published on September 24, the Tribune reported the facts regarding the “record enrollment.” Specifically, that it was not really a record. In this article the school district’s own published documentation was used to explain the falsehood of the CCSD assertion, and the pattern.
Following that article I was contacted by Michael Paoli, school district and tax issue activist, who noted that while my selected CCSD statistics made the case for the facts on the issue of count day false “facts,” the facts on the school districts assertion that they are “overcrowded” are more disturbing. In a post to the RJ, Michael cited actual statistics of enrollment. Lies, lies and more lies! Elementary school enrollment 2008-09 was 150,997. Since, CCSD has added 17 more elementary schools. Elementary enrollment 2013-14 was 148,252. 17 MORE SCHOOLS for 2745 FEWER STUDENTS. Numbers are straight from the CCSD official reports. You can download them and look for yourself.” CCSD: Lies, Lies and more Lies
In my September 24 Tribune report I cited year around school capability as a reason why the school board’s ongoing assertion that they needed to squander more money on new schools was wrong.
Consider, on top of that, Paoli’s evaluation: “The game they’re playing is class size reduction (CSR). Elementary [class size] used to be 28, now it’s 16. Let’s say there’s 20 students in the room. As built, classrooms are sized for 40 students. On that basis, that would be 50 percent of capacity. On the basis of 28, it becomes 71 percent.
On the basis of 16 it becomes 125 percent. Same 20 kids in the same room goes from underutilization to ‘bursting at the seams.’ Same with teachers. Student-teacher ratio at CCSD is only 17, down from 24 in 2008-09. That’s a 40 percent increase in staffing relative to students in the past five years. And what have we gotten from it? Nothing!
Academic achievement has declined every year.” These numbers are, on average, correct. Some older elementary classrooms are sized to seat over 40 and some of the last ones around 25 students per classroom.
One other “sore subject” with the school district mishandling of classroom sizing is that of “team teaching.” Many of the larger classrooms could have been used as team teaching classrooms with CSR.
The team teaching concept involves having two teachers and two classes together in one room. That would have worked with CSR which relates to the number of students per teacher and not the number of classes in a
Unfortunately CCSD’s improper use of the team teaching tool was rampant during what the school board now asserts as the heyday of money at CCSD. The school board then got in the habit of staffing the team teaching classrooms with, not two teachers, but one teacher and an improperly trained “helper.” Therefore, the state legislature took this tool away from CCSD due to incompetent management of it. Had this not been the case, then team teaching could have been a tool to bring utilization up while increasing (not improving) student teacher ratios. As CSR has not been proven to solve the problem then taxpayers may conclude that class size is not the problem. So why does the
school board keep pushing for it and more buildings to support it? We know that the teachers union is pushing it because more teachers will theoretically join the union.
Most of the public suspects that the school board has repeatedly bungled management of things like team teaching and CSR. But, the public is unaware that by voting for more teachers it will be forcing itself to spend billions for more schools in the next election.
Because, if we hire more teachers to reduce class sizes, then we will immediately need more classrooms. This is a new route (forced) to the same ballot item that taxpayers failed during the 2010 election. Will voters elect to create a margins tax if they know that they will soon be forced to provide billions for more schools? The last vote for school bonds resulted in over $5 billion being spent on schools while educational outcomes went down.