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Parents: Classroom size too big

| Thursday, April 11, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

About a half dozen parents from James H. Metzgar Elementary School asked the Greensburg Salem school board on Wednesday to lower the number of students in classes there.

Marty Sharp, who spoke for the group, told directors that the number of students in classes has increased greatly over the last couple years.

He said some classes at the school have as many as 30 students this school year.

Sharp, who is a teacher in another district, said classroom numbers affect how well students learn.

The quality and quantity of homework have suffered, he said. Parents have expressed concerns that there are more discipline problems, Sharp added.

Metzgar has achieved distinction for academic success, such as being named a “blue ribbon” school under the No Child Left Behind program, and he wants that success to continue, Sharp said.

“I would hate seeing Metzgar ... lose any of its shine,” Sharp added.

He said he and the other parents were approaching the board now because they know directors are putting together the 2013-14 budget.

The parents hope directors can make a “significant investment in the staffing at Metzgar.”

Superintendent Eileen Amato replied that lowering the number of students in classrooms “is a priority for us,” especially in elementary schools.

Over the last few months, other parents of elementary school children have approached school directors about growing classroom numbers.

Budget constraints have caused some of the need for larger classroom numbers, administrators said.

A few months ago, the district hired classroom assistants to try to ease the effects of the large numbers. Other support personnel have been added at times to try to keep education a priority, district officials said.

“We're really looking to bring the number down ... for next year,” Amato said.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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