This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Two weeks into a school year unlike any other, with severe cutbacks in teachers and other personnel in schools, the District is about to start its process of "leveling," or reassigning teachers based on where the students are.
According to District officials, fears of huge class sizes have not materialized.
They say that they have budgeted enough money to deploy 50 additional teachers around the District to reduce class size and eliminate split grades. So far, they say, they have deployed 26 of those — meaning that they still have money set aside to recall or hire an additional 24.
Spokesman Fernando Gallard said that he had no information on where the 26 teachers were assigned.
He also said the District would not release information on class size until after the leveling is completed. He said that the goal is to get all classes below the limits in the recently expired teachers’ contract — 30 in grades K-3 and 33 in grades 4-12.
The District started the year with about 100 split classes, in which students from different grades are taught together in order to save money on teachers. But there is as yet no information on how many of these remain.
While there have been anecdotal stories of classrooms lacking enough desks, chairs and materials, the District has yet to provide an general accounting of conditions in the schools, although Gallard said that officials are tracking them.
Is there a split grade or an oversized classroom in your school? Let us know the details (school, class size) by commenting on this story or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.