Enrollment in the Sylvania School District has reached a 10-year high, leading the school district to hire additional teaching staff to accommodate more students.
This year, Lucas County’s second largest school district has 7,758 students, a bump of 192 students from last school year. The Ohio Department of Education hasn’t released official numbers for school districts statewide, but Superintendent Adam Fineske shared early unofficial counts with The Blade last week.
Alyssa Bauer leads her kindergarten class in a cool down session following a motor activity at Stranahan Elementary School.
In an effort to accommodate the enrollment growth, the district hired 30 new teachers before the school year.
While the increased enrollment numbers are throughout all 12 schools in the district, especially out west, the largest spike comes from the kindergarten students. The district currently has 572 kindergarten students, a 16.7 percent increase over 2016-17’s year-ending 490. The soaring numbers prompted the district to add a fourth section of kindergarten at Stranahan Elementary a week before the school year started.
Mr. Fineske said the district hired new teachers to ensure students continue to receive a high quality education.
“Making sure we have an adequate amount of teachers to help provide the best learning environment for our students is always a top priority for our district,” he said. He added that the decision to hire new staff was primarily based on class size and student needs.
“It is a top priority for our district to do our best to keep our class sizes at a good number that helps our teachers best meet the needs of our students, but at the same time make sure that all decisions are made in an efficient manner to best utilize our provided funds,” he said.
“The ratio of students to teachers is an important factor in education and results,” said Stephen Rothschild, school board president.
Teacher Alyssa Bauer helps Peyton Martin 5, and Violet Hanna, 5 with pronunciation of letters.
Alyssa Bauer, kindergarten teacher at Stranahan Elementary, said with the addition of a new kindergarten teacher her class numbers are lower this year compared to previous years.
“When I have fewer students in my classroom, I am able to spend more one-on-one time with the kids and can work with smaller groups,” Mrs. Bauer said. “Kindergartners are also very active with their learning so it’s great to have space for them to spread out in the classroom when our class sizes are lower.”
All funds to support staff are provided by a combination of the state funding allocated to the district and property tax levies that support the general fund.
The district anticipated the swelling enrollment numbers, Mr. Fineske said, adding that growth factored into the decision to redraw district boundaries for the 2018-19 school year after months of often contentious conversations with parents and community members.
He also attributed the rising attendance numbers to the community as a whole.
“People move to Sylvania not only because of our excellent schools, but for the overall experience that our area provides,” he said.
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