An increased number of kindergartners in the Oakdale Joint Unified School District has resulted in the establishment of an additional kindergarten class and the hiring of a temporary teacher for the school year.
OJUSD Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Terri Taylor reported that the high kindergarten numbers necessitated the opening of the new class, which starts today, Aug. 29, at Magnolia Elementary School.
“Magnolia was chosen because their kindergarten classes are the most impacted, and there is available classroom space,” she said. “The majority of the students will come from Magnolia, which should allow for the least amount of disruption to our families.”
She noted that 24 students is usually a maximum number but some classes were at 25 or 26 students. Plus, the district incurs financial penalties on a graduated scale in the instances where more than 20 students are in a class.
“We know it isn’t easy for students to be moved after the school year starts, but until school began and we knew what our true enrollment was at each site, we weren’t able to make a decision,” Taylor added. “In better fiscal times, we did not have to staff so tightly.”
She acknowledged that it’s a financial decision for the district but that even though there’s an initial disruption, parents are usually happier in the long run because they realize the benefit of having their child in a smaller class. She also said that the class was opened first to Magnolia parents on a volunteer basis.
Taylor reported that the new teacher is Oakdale resident Courtney Jericoff. She is very familiar with Magnolia Elementary, as she has been a sought-after substitute teacher for several years, Taylor said.