DOWNEY - A key provision of the master (labor) agreement between the Downey Education Association (representing certificated personnel) and DUSD ratified Tuesday is the one that increases class size in grades 1-3 from a 1:20 ratio to the maximum allowed ratio of 1:26 for the 2010-2011 school year, with class size slated to increase by one, to 1:27, for the 2011-2012 school year.By the same token, class size for grades 4-5 will increase from 1:32 to 1:34 ratios. Stan Hanstad, assistant superintendent for personnel services, said that, in contrast to the layoffs, furloughs and other unfortunate developments suffered by other districts in the Southland and elsewhere, the latest bargaining agreement with DEA has been shielded from layoffs, furloughs, salary reductions or loss of medical benefits. The agreement is effective from Sept. 1, 2009-Aug. 31, 2012. The reduction of 32 teachers, as has been previously announced, Hanstad said, is due to attrition, retirement, and the temporary nature of their jobs. "We worked collaboratively with everybody concerned," he said. DEA president Jeff Orlinsky thanked the board for its support and acknowledged: "We worked hard and made sacrifices, but we had a very good round of negotiations. In the end I think we came up with one of the best agreements in the state of California." "There has been no known study signifying that increased class size has deleterious effects on students," Superintendent Wendy Doty said. "Besides, this is the best we could do, under the [tight] circumstances." Negotiations for the bargaining agreement for classified (clerical) personnel are scheduled to open next month. Meanwhile, the 2010-11 school year is scheduled to begin on Sept. 8.
********** Published: April 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 1