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Influx leads to crowded classrooms
DIXFIELD -- An influx of eighth grade students at the Mountain Valley Middle School has led to an emergency action taken by the RSU 10 Board of Directors.
Monday night, the board voted to give Supt. Tom Ward the authority to post a position for an eighth grade teacher. Further, if Ward and the hiring committee can find a suitable candidate, that person will be recommended (either on a fulltime or interim basis) to the board when they meet again on Sept. 24.
MVMS Principal Ryan Casey said there's a real urgency to get something done as soon as possible as the crowded eighth grade classrooms are looking at a student-teacher ratio of 27 to 1.
The board was considering waiting until the next meeting to begin the process, but Casey noted that his staff was depending on him to return to school the next day with some kind of remedy to this problem. "They need resolution; to live or die with what they're up against."
When this class of students was in sixth grade, the district hired a teacher for two years through the Jobs Bill. However, when that bill expired, it was thought that this class would be okay without that teacher. They hadn't expected this influx, many of which are transients from out of state.
Casey was encouraged by the action of the board and said they'll be using a substitute until the next meeting as a way to curb back the number of students in each of those classes.
This has also resulted in an uptick of needy students, which led to talk of hiring a special education ed tech, to be utilized throughout the district's middle schools. However, it was decided that this position is not of an emergency nature.
As far as where the money will come from to pay for the positions, Ward said that because the district's workman's comp rates have gone down, they are saving $90,000, money that can be used in an emergency situation such as this.
The superintendent added that another situation that he is keeping a close eye on is grade two at the Hartford-Sumner Elementary School, where there is 24 students in one class and 22 in the other. "If more people move in, we're in trouble."