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Bond Sale Considered to Trim Classroom Sizes

FULLERTON | Community News Focus

May 21, 1997|MIMI KO CRUZ

A bond sale that would help cover the costs of reducing class sizes in primary grades may be considered by the Fullerton School District.

The district's superintendent, Ron Cooper, said he is studying whether placing a bond measure on the next election's ballot would be possible.

He said he is checking with other school districts to find out how much money would be needed to pursue the campaign and how difficult it might be.

Once Cooper completes his informal investigation, the Board of Trustees will review his findings and decide whether to establish a committee to further study the bond issue. The committee then would make a recommendation to the school board.

The district now has no more than 20 students in any of its first-grade classrooms. Trustees recently decided to expand the state-initiated class-size reduction program into kindergarten and second grade in the 1997-98 school year. How much funding the district will receive from the state for the program is not yet determined. If the amount is $666 per pupil as anticipated, the district still would need $400,000 more to implement the program. If the state allotment is $750 or $800 per pupil, the district's cost would be about $200,000, officials said.

The cost would rise, however, should the district decide to expand the program into other grades. It would have to make provide more classrooms and the schools already are out of space. Portable buildings and some classroom construction will be needed to accommodate next fall's smaller classes.

"I don't think there's anyone against class size reduction," Trustee Robert C. Fisler said. "We're all for it, and I think we're all aware that it can't go forward without money. I think it's wise of this board to at least take a look at all of the options and [a bond measure] is an option."

Board President Anthony M. Valla said many parents have told him that they would support higher taxes if the result would be smaller classes for their children. "People are certainly talking about it," he said.

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