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Seattle parents demand new kindergarten teacher

Parents at Loyal Heights Elementary School are both angry and disappointed in the Seattle School District. They are floored that it’s two weeks into the school year and there still isn’t a good plan to address overcrowded kindergarten classes.

There are 88 kindergarteners divided among three teachers, which more than goes against the state’s recommendation of 22 kids to each classroom. But rather than hire help, parents say they’ve been told that another teacher in the school will be moved. This could cause a ripple effect to all grades, creating split-level classrooms.

“You may have a class that’s five first graders and 20 second graders, so teachers will have to teach both a first and second grade curriculum in the same amount of instruction time,” said Katherine Gaffney. “It’s a pretty tall order for anybody.”

Not to mention the kids. Gaffney said teachers have already developed relationships and routines in classrooms. It’ll disrupt an already fragile school.

Loyal Heights Elementary School was moved to John Marshall for two years while the school is remodeled. The remodel and expansion has been heavily opposed by some parents and community members. The Seattle Times reports an appeal was filed to try and reverse the decision to create what some call a “mega school.” Construction is expected to begin next year and be complete in 2018.

“To add more stress to the current situation is just … the kids can’t take it, the teachers can’t take it, the parents can’t take it,” said Suzanne Granger.

She said that the temporary location for the school isn’t safe for her first grader. Granger said she found hypodermic needles and human feces on the playground.

The next school board meeting is Wednesday night, Sept. 21.

In response to its growing district, Seattle Public Schools is building and expanding schools in its boundaries.

The Associated Press reports about 50 million students are expected to attend public elementary and secondary schools this fall. That is up slightly from the 2015-16 school year.

Those 50 million students will be taught by about 3.1 million teachers — pre-kindergarten through high school. The Associated Press reports there is an average student-to-teacher ratio of about 16 students to each teacher.

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