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Ripon Unified adding three classes in fall
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Kathy Coleman has been busy crunching the numbers at Ripon Unified.

As the director of Curriculum and Categorical Programs, she’s looking at projected enrollment numbers for the upcoming school year.

Based on that, Coleman, at Monday’s school board meeting, pointed out that one kindergarten class will be added along with one first-grade class (Park View Elementary School) and a seventh-grade class (Ripona Elementary School).

“We will have nine kindergarten classes instead of the usual eight,” she said. “Nine will bring the average to 23.2 students (per classroom).”

Coleman added: “Kindergarten enrollment was already high this year at 25.9 – that’s 26 students per eight classrooms.”

The state goal is 24 students or fewer per classroom. RUSD, in this case, has a Memorandum of Understanding with teachers union for 26 per class, according to Superintendent Bill Draa.

The extra first-grade class is expected to ease the burden for the 2015-16 school year.

She added that her projections are a guessing game, with the numbers usually panning out once the school year starts.

“We’re taking our current plan (with the primary grades) and rolling it forward to next year,” Coleman said.

The added seventh-grade classroom will be at Ripona, making it three such classrooms at the campus. 

“The reason for that is we had a very large sixth grade enrollment at 31.8 (students per classroom),” she said.

In addition, Coleman is looking to add three elementary school teachers at about $80,000 each. That’s counting salary plus tenure and benefits.

Colony Oak Elementary School, meanwhile, will be left with single-teacher classrooms from K-8.

“I thought our plan was to not create new singleton classrooms,” Trustee Chad Huskey said. “As a parent of a student in a singleton, I know it affects the kids.”

No board action was necessary on the presentation.