Starting in the fall, kindergarten classes will be reduced in size at all of Capistrano Unified School District's 29 elementary schools.
Trustees this week approved a proposal to expand the district's class-size reduction program. To do so in kindergarten, the district will use half-day teachers to help out in classes of 30 pupils each.
Supt. James A. Fleming said the plan will not require moving children out of classrooms to meet the lower student-to-teacher ratio. With an extra teacher designated in each room, the district will be able to use existing kindergarten classroom space.
Since initiating the class-size reduction program in September to take advantage of a state initiative, the district has reduced enrollment to no more than 20 students in all first- and second-grade classes.
Nine schools have also implemented the program in third grade, with another scheduled to do so next year. Pending state funding, the district hopes to reduce all third-grade classes by the 1998-99 school year, Fleming said.
In Gov. Pete Wilson's preliminary 1997-98 budget, the state would allocate $666 for each student enrolled in the smaller classes, an increase of $16 from last year. The district projects its cost to implement the program next year at $863 for each student.
Fleming said he expects the state to pay for what it has proposed. "I am very confident the legislature will improve the governor's initial budget," he said.