Class Size Average Varies in Eastern Iowa Schools

By Meredith Hines-Dochterman, Reporter

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By Tracey McCullough

Students are back in the classroom, but actual enrollment numbers are up in the air.

Iowa school districts won’t conduct their official enrollment count until Oct. 1. This is because school numbers are considered fluid the first week or so of classes as administrators grapple with the number the students who registered and the actual number who show up on the first day.

The Iowa City school district will do a formal count of class sizes after Labor Day. Assistant Superintendent Ann Feldmann said that budget adjustments have resulted in some larger classes this year.

The district’s allotment for one full-time equivalent teacher for kindergarten through second grade classrooms is 20 students. This is an increase from 19.85 students during the 2008-09 school year.

The district’s allotment increased at all grade levels, jumping to 25.01 students from 24.86 in third through sixth grades, 21.06 students from 20.26 at the junior high level and 20.62 students from 19.82 in the high schools.

“There will be some classes with more than this and some with fewer,” Feldmann said.

The Cedar Rapids school district reduced staff last year in response to declining enrollment numbers, but administrators said they are not at a point where they can provide average class sizes or make enrollment estimates.

Spokeswoman Marcia Hughes said that there are no elementary schools with more than 29 students in a classroom, with the exception of one school building that has reported 31 students at one grade level.

“Numbers — at all levels — are continuing to change as families register for the new school year at all levels,” Hughes said.

Linn-Mar school district administrators report an early enrollment average of 22.2 students per teacher. This has been the district average for the last 10 years, with the exception of the 2004-05 school year, where the average was 23.9 students per teacher.

The average for College Community elementary schools is 24 students to one teacher with no classrooms exceeding 26 students.

The state average was 13.7 students to one teacher during the 2008-09 school year.

Gregg Hennigan and Patrick Hogan contributed to this report.

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