Expanded Program of Class Size Cuts Offered

Capistrano Unified School District trustees will consider a proposal Monday to include four primary grade levels in the class size reduction program for the 1997-98 school year.

Under the plan proposed by Supt. James A. Fleming, the student-to-teacher ratio in kindergarten would be reduced next fall in each of the district’s 29 elementary schools by using a half-time teacher who would assist the full-time teacher in a kindergarten classroom with 30 students.

Since implementing the class reduction program last September, Capistrano Unified has reduced class size to 20 students in all first and second grades. Third-grade classes in 10 of the district’s elementary schools have also been reduced.

“It’s time to expand,” Fleming said of his proposal. “The principals are all very excited.”


This year, Capistrano Unified has more than 3,300 students enrolled in kindergarten, a figure that is likely to increase next year.

Fleming said the district decided to unveil its reduction plans early to get a jump on planning and teacher recruitment. The district is also working on plans, pending state funding decisions, to reduce class size in all third-grade classes by 1997-98, he said.

According to Gov. Pete Wilson’s initial 1997-98 budget, the state plans to contribute $666 per student participating in the class reduction program, an increase of $16 from last year’s allotment. The local district estimated its operating costs for the program are $863 per student.

But Fleming said he’s confident that the Legislature will come up with more funds to help districts facilitate class size reduction in kindergarten through third grade.


The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the district office, 32972 Calle Perfecto. Information: (714) 489-7000.