SUMMIT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – All parents have certain expectations for the schools their children attend.
In Summit, New Jersey – where homeowners pay a premium in taxes for smaller class sizes – some parents are saying an increase is not OK.
“They’ve gone from 18 to 19 kids in a class to 24 or 25 in a class with these sections they are eliminating… That strains the kids, it strains the teachers, it strains the facilities,” mother of five Sarah Bird said.
The board of education is planning to vote to eliminate five elementary school sections across the district. That will reportedly push more kids into the remaining classes.
UPDATE (Monday, 11:30 p.m.) – According to a Summit parent at Monday’s school board vote, funds in next year’s budget will reportedly be reallocated to keep the five sections and keep class sizes under 24 students during the next school year.
Haley Telling, mom of four, says she moved to Summit for the smaller class sizes.
“We are paying a very high tax rate in Summit and we want taxes to go to our children’s education. These class numbers of 25 are unacceptable.”
The parents started a petition to block the increase.
“We did some really easy math… figured in a 25-person class a teacher is likely to have less than 15 minutes a week to spend with kids on individual attention… that’s just not really adequate,” Adam Selig said.
Some are worried the issue may also damage overall property values.
“We’re really worried as word gets out about larger class size, competitiveness of really great communities in the area will make Summit a less appealing town to live in,” Selig added.
Superintendent June Chang would not go on camera with CBS2, but father of three David Gittleman says he takes Chang’s word that class sizes will be capped and that’s good enough for him.
“June Chang has stated as soon as the class size gets to 26, they will hire a new teacher for that unit,” Gittleman said.
The school tax may be going up in Summit in order to make all-day kindergarten possible. The superintendent told parents this is not connected to eliminating other class sections, but most parents remain skeptical.