SOUTHINGTON — The Board of Education Thursday approved the addition of an elementary teacher for the upcoming school year if needed, a hire that won’t require an addition to the school district’s budget.
According to enrollment numbers on Thursday, the district would have 26 students more than were projected by studies.
School leaders said they would be able to fund the new position with existing money approved in the current budget.
The school has had an unexpected number of retirements recently, according to School Superintendent Tim Connellan. School leaders are working to replace those with new hires in time for the opening of school later this month.
Board members approved the position unanimously. Chairman Brian Goralski said there are at times hotspots, or grades that are larger than usual. In the case of some elementary grades, the enrollment could push class sizes above that preferred by district leaders. Last year, when creating the budget, board leaders tried to correctly staff classrooms.
“We did the best we could to really go by those (guidelines),” Goralski said.
Connellan said most of the district was adequately staffed and that class sizes were acceptable. Classes average between more than 17 students in kindergarten to nearly 21 students in fifth grade.
Board guidelines for class sizes prescribe smaller class sizes for younger students and accept larger classes for older students.
“Across all of the schools in the various grade levels, our class sizes are pretty good. We do have highs and lows here and there,” Connellan said.
He said a difference of only 26 students district-wide from the projection showed that studies were quite accurate in estimating future enrollment.