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Ventura County Roundup | East County / SIMI VALLEY

Report Finds Fewer Overcrowded Classes

October 19, 1998|TONY LYSTRA

A report on class size in Simi Valley schools shows the number of overcrowded classes is down from last year but that, of the 32 secondary school classes that exceed 36 students, 22 are science and math classes.

The Simi Valley Unified School District, in its contract with the teachers union, has agreed to cap class sizes in secondary schools at 36 students, said school board President Janice DiFatta.

District junior high and high school principals must report each year how many of their classes exceed that cap, said Michael Wray, the district's director of secondary education, who compiled the report. Last year, 46 classes had more than 36 students.

Board member Carla Kurachi called for the district to encourage math classes to use additional tutors to ensure that students get the help they need. She also suggested that the district add science classes--perhaps by having instructors teach during their preparation periods--to reduce overcrowding.

But board member Diane Collins said that finding willing teachers might be difficult.

"You're paid such a low amount to give up your prep period," she said. "Why would you do that?"

According to this year's report, overcrowding is most acute at Santa Susanna High School, where 11 math and science classes exceed the 36-student benchmark. All those classes have enrollments of 37 to 39, the report shows.

Wray suggested that the high school, which opened three years ago, has more problems with class size because it is smaller and newer than other Simi Valley secondary schools.

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