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Slight Increase in Class Size Possible at Amity High

School Supt. Dr. John Brady said a recommended reduction of 3.2 teaching positions should not have a detrimental effect.

Some class sizes might increase if the Amity Region 5 Board of Education adopts Supt. Dr. John Brady’s proposed budget, but Brady assured the board it would not affect education at Amity High School.

The 2013-14 regional school district budget presented to the board Monday calls for the reduction of 3.2 teacher positions at the high school next year.

Brady said the staff cut would save $276,653.

Some members of the board asked Brady to provide more information at the board’s next meeting on Feb. 11, set for 6:30 p.m. at Orange Middle School, on the staffing cut recommendation.

The proposed 2013-14 budget includes a 2.64 percent funding increase of about $1,151,400.

Brady said the average class size at Amity High School is in the low-20s, but he is confident that a slight increase would not be detrimental.

“The data shows our students are doing just fine,” he said.

In fact, he told the board, some of the biggest classes are the advanced placement science and mathematics classes, which commonly hit their enrollment limit of 28 students per class. Yet according to his presentation, Amity High School students achieve passing scores on 91.8 percent of their AP exams.

Students who achieve the “passing” score on an Advanced Placement exam earn college credit in that subject before graduating from high school.

Brady said an education study conducted years ago showed that lower performing students benefit from reducing class size. This has been cited to support decisions to hire more teachers, especially in the early grades, in a number of jurisdictions, he said.

However, Brady said there is no evidence that slightly higher class sizes would have any effect on student performance at Amity High School.

He admitted this might sound “counterintuitive,” because common sense indicates that smaller classes should result in higher test scores, “but no data exists to support it.”

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