By Candace Birkelbach
Killeen Daily Herald
Each school year, the Killeen Independent School District must make adjustments to class sizes to deal with undersized or overcrowded classrooms.
Steve Cook, executive director of personnel services for KISD, told the Daily Herald on Friday that 12 teachers were relocated to different campuses this year and 10 teachers moved to different classrooms within the same campus.
Cook said the figures are good for a district of this size and compared to reapportioning last year when 30 teachers had to move to different campuses.
He said the district does not force students to move to different campuses and notifies parents of a teacher change as soon as possible.
Cook said one middle school classroom had a significant overcrowding issue and the majority of classroom adjustments were made at elementary schools.
Each year, district officials wait a few weeks until enrollment has fizzled out before they begin to make dramatic shifts in classroom organization, said Superintendent Jim Hawkins on the first day of school this year.
"Dr. Hawkins told us to look at this issue quickly this year in order to minimize the anxiety of students who become attached to their teachers," Cook said. "We talk to teachers when we anticipate a move and send letters to parents."
It normally takes the district four weeks to finish shifting teachers around, Cook said. Since classes resumed later in August this year, the district was able to complete the shifting process quicker, Cook added.
Enrollment for the district as of Friday was 38,222 students, not far from the projected peak enrollment of 38,957. Cook said the enrollment is climbing each day and he expects it will reach the peak enrollment or very close to it.
Texas mandates that classroom size be a maximum of 22 students for grades kindergarten through fourth. Cook said there is no state mandate for grades higher than fourth, but staffers for those grade levels monitor classroom size.
The state allows a 30-day period to adjust overcrowded classrooms. The classes must remain at or below 22 students for the rest of the school year, except for the last 12 weeks of school, Cook said.
To date, 515 teachers have been hired for the 2007-08 school year; the district needs to hire about 20 more, Cook said.
Because of the high mobility of local residents, the fluctuation of staff numbers is inevitable, Cook said.
"We are never done hiring," Cook said. "We get close, but teachers sometimes have to relocate with their spouses because of the military."
Cook said the districtwide job fair in May helped immensely with filling vacant teaching positions. He said the district will continue to have the job fair each year because of its success.
Contact Candace Birkelbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7553