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Official: Schools can add staff without extra cost : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Official: Schools can add staff without extra cost
Enrollment projected to increase by more than 500 students this fall

by Lyle R. Rolfe


Additional staff members can be hired for the coming school year in the Oswego School District without additional cost, board members were recently told.

Dr. John W. Sparlin, assistant superintendent for administrative services, said the district needs to hire the full-time equivalent of 11.5 additional staff members to meet the present projected enrollment figures.

They are predicting an enrollment of 18,723 for the 2014-15 school year, up 541 from 17,732 this year.

Sparlin said his plan will provide the district with the most effective and efficient use of their present staff at no additional cost.

The plan meets five goals, he said andwill provide the best learning environment for the students. They will continue the work of balancing class size throughout the district; maximize efficiency in use of the current staff; work within the current budget; and minimize the number of overloads in the secondary schools.

Sparlin said a thorough staffing analysis was done throughout the district, which included the special programming needs for the district such as Special Education, English Language Learners, and Academically Talented classes. All school principals and other administrators were involved in the analysis.

He said they will need one additional full-time equivalent math implementation specialist, which will be funded through a one-year grant.

Sparlin also plans to hire an additional guidance counselor at Traughber Junior High School in Oswego, and two full-time equivalent teachers for English Language Learner classes, at no additional cost because of reallocations of the present staff.

He will also create the equivalent of three new Learning Behavior Specialists, two for Oswego East High School and one at Traughber Junior High at no additional costs. They were able to do this because of reallocations of present staff members, he said.

His plan also included hiring the equivalent of 4.5 additional teachers for academically talented classes in the elementary schools. This can be done at no additional cost by decreasing the number of overloads at the secondary level, he said.

With the addition of 4.5 full-time equivalent teachers, Sparlin said he can provide the equivalent of one additional full-time teacher for Academically Talented classes in each elementary school.

This will allow them to schedule one hour each day for math enrichment cluster groups in grades three, four and five at every elementary school, and a daily 30-minute block for Language Arts enrichment cluster groups for grades three, four and five, Sparlin said.

Sparlin added that he based their needs on class sizes of up to 25 for kindergarten through second grade and up to 28 students for third through fifth grades.

He mentioned that he used 28 to 35 students per class at the secondary level. But he noted that some classes might fall below 28 because of scheduling and class choices at the high school level. This would include classes such as advanced placement courses or sequential courses in foreign languages, he said.

Sparlin presented his plan for informational purposes, so no action was taken by the board.

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