I just received great news from our principal Dan Zimmerman:
"In a detailed review of the allocation situation at Incline ES, WCSD determined today that we will receive a 3rd grade and a 5th grade allocation back in order to be in compliance with Read by Grade 3 and to reduce class size for the 2017-18 school year. Though we are still losing a 1st grade and 4th grade allocation, this places us in a much better position to serve our students."
I would also like to give a huge shout out to Dana Greer, Nicolle Larson and Chrystie Lowden who attend the senate hearing on SB 180 this week. In addition to speaking on behalf of IES at the hearing, Dana Greer was able to speak directly with Senator Kieckhefer about the unique needs of Incline Elementary. She was also about to set up a future meeting with this senator as well as Governor Sandoval. The next important meeting will be a town hall meeting regarding the budget at Wooster High School Thursday, April 6 at 6 p.m.
In order to compensate for a $12,000,000 budget cut, WCSD is proposing to increase classroom sizes by 2 students. While this increase would be alarming on its own, the projected allocations for Incline Elementary are no where near 2 students per class. We are projected to lose 4 teachers (1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th). This would mean a 5th grade classroom currently at 21 students would be increased to 38 students, a far cry from a 2 student increase.
The next Washoe County School Board meeting is on Tuesday, March 14th at the district office 425 E. 9th St.
Here are some of the discussion topics from the meeting:
1) For the 2017-2018 school year, IES is projected to lose four teachers: 1st grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade. The media reported that class size would increase by 2, but our 1st grade will increase by 5 students; 3rd grade by 10 students; 4th grade by 8 students; 5th grade by 14 students.
2) With Nevada’s Read by Grade 3 requirement (linked on the WCSD website), 3rd grade classes should have 20 students; IES 3rdgrade classes will be 31 students to one teacher if we lose a 3rd grade allocation.
3) Our IES 4th grade classes will go from 24 students to 32 students. These classes are too large to differentiate instruction for our most vulnerable students (students with IEPs, English language learners, and students needing extra interventions). It will also increase classroom management issues.
4) Our IES 5th grade classes will go to 38 students in one class. Not only will teachers be unable to effectively differentiate instruction, the IES classrooms are not large enough to hold 38 desks. WCSD will have to come in and remove built-in cabinetry in order to make a large enough learning space for our students.
5) The preliminary allocations put the burden of this budget crisis on our students. What is being cut from central administration to minimize impact on students?
6) Incline Elementary currently has amazing high quality teachers who would be at risk for being overaged now. This has a greater effect on the schools in Incline because being offered a job 45-60 minutes away is a bigger hardship. Currently, Tahoe Unified is actively hiring and we may have no high quality overaged Incline teachers to bring back in the fall if we receive increases in allocations at that time.
7) A larger part of our IES population is living below the poverty level and this number is most likely even higher that currently stated due to families fears of applying. Many of these families receive no additional services from WCSD due to proximity.
8) The student/teacher relationship is critical to learning especially in the elementary years. There is no way for a teacher to give adequate individualized attention with the suggested classroom sizes.
9) WCSD district offers programs and services that are prohibitively far away for Incline residents to use regularly. The educational experience of our students rests with our teachers. There are very few academic programs offered within our community.
10) Incline Elementary is already suffering from attrition. Families see the title I needs at our school and the lack of funds and are enrolling their students elsewhere. Several families are choosing private schools, the public Spanish immersion school in Kings Beach, Tahoe Expeditionary Academy and public and private schools in Reno. We need to stop the attrition not fuel it with larger class sizes. High achieving student are often the first to leave causing lower test schools. Also, making the financial situation at IES more challenging due to lower enrollment numbers.
11) How are we going to address equity in school funding at the state and district level so that these losses do not continue to occur year after year?
12) We are fortunate to have a beautiful new school, but it wasn’t built to accommodate classrooms of this size. Classrooms would need to be modified structurally to allow for this many students.
13) These student/teacher ratios seem unsafe. How can a single teacher see everything that is going in classroom with 38 students? Although by 5th grade, students can work more independently, they moving towards the teen years are often motivated by pleasing peers rather than adults. Keeping a classroom safe and effective for differentiated learners is impossible with these ratios.
14) It appears as though elementary schools throughout the district are slated to lose between 1-4 teachers in the preliminary allocations. Why would Incline Elementary be at the top of this range when we are a small school?
15) With the possibility of vouchers, ours schools need to be focusing more funds on students and academics.
16) Incline Village pays a disproportionate amount in taxes and is struggling with special needs in our schools (Title I and a large English Language Learner population).
Here is a list of Washoe County School District representatives:
JoEtta Gonzales is our direct area Superintendent; Traci Davis is the Superintendent of all WCSD; Scott Kelley is Incline's School Board Member:
Washoe County Superintendent
Superintendent of Schools 775.789.4645
Dr. Paul LaMarca
Chief School Performance Officer 775.789.4650
Board of Trustees, Clerk, Incline Rep.
Dr. Kristen McNeill
Deputy Superintendent 775.789.4640
Chief of Staff 775.789-4675
Chief Academic Officer 775.789.4606
Byron Green, Ed.D
Chief Student Services Officer 775.789.4675
Chief Operations Officer 775.851.5672
Chief Operations Officer 775.789.3456
Chief Accountability Officer 775.348.0284
Mark Amodei www.amodei.house.gov
NV Congressman 775.686.5760