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Pleasantville Schools Reduce Fourth-Grade Staff

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – The reduction of a fourth-grade teacher position was agreed to by the Pleasantville Union Free School District Board of Education on Tuesday when it unanimously approved the 2012-13 budget .

With the decrease, six full-time teachers at Bedford Road School will now handle classes with an average size of 23 students. Having seven teachers would have lowered the average class size to 20.

“I don’t look at it personally as reducing, I look at it more as ‘rightsizing,’” said Board member Shane McGaffey. “I’m very comfortable with this in knowing that this is a class size that’s working.”

Fourth-grade enrollment, other than an outlier year of 155 in 2008-09, has remained under 140 students in the past five years. Bedford Road School Principal Peggy Galotti anticipates the trend to continue, given the low enrollment figures at the first, second and third-grade levels.

“We’re plateauing out,” Galotti said. “I’m never comfortable sitting here saying this is a wonderful thing, but I do believe it’s an appropriate class size.”

The maximum class size the district can contractually have at the fourth-grade level is 26, which, for six teachers, would require an enrollment of 156 students. Galotti does not anticipate a spike in enrollment that would necessitate re-hiring another teacher to comply with the class size obligations.

“It’s less the actual number in the class than the quality of the teachers, which I think puts us in a very good position because I think we have amazing teachers,” said School Board President Lois Winkler.

If voters pass the board-approved budget on May 15, the full-time equivalent staff at Bedford Road School would be reduced from 38.5 to 37.5, which would save the district $205,498.

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