Instructional days restored and class sizes reduced in deal
By Jim Shilander
Capistrano Unified School District officials said Friday that a tentative agreement has been reached with the district’s teacher’s union, which could lead to additional school days and reduced class sizes for the upcoming school year. Both issues have been of major concern for parents since the district began to lose funding in the midst of the economic downturn.
As part of the contract, the number of instructional days will increase to 177. In addition, class sizes will begin to be reduced in areas of staff flexibility. The proposal calls for a reduction of .75 students per class in kindergarten through third grades, by .5 students in fourth and fifth grades and by. 25 students in secondary classes.
The agreement also calls for using state funds for mandatory Common Core professional development efforts.
The proposal must still be ratified by both the CUSD Board of Trustees and Capistrano Unified Education Association. The trustees’ next meeting is August 14, while the teachers are expected to vote within the next two weeks.
Increased state funding for the district in this year’s budget also means the reinstatement of a 1.2 percent salary reduction teachers have taken over the last three years, along with three non-student furlough days. The agreement includes three days of professional development related to Common Core and two instruction furlough days.
“This proposal signals a significant shift in how we do business,” Superintendent Joseph M. Farley said in a release from the district. “With the cooperation of our teachers, we are now adding to the instruction and services we are able to provide to our students. This proposal does not get us back to an optimum level, but it is a tremendous step towards that goal.”
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