Osseo Area Schools enrollment update

Projections were close, class sizes remain similar to last year

Fall enrollment in the Osseo School District closely matches projections, and class sizes remain similar to last year, according to a recent report to the school board by Assistant Supt. Kim Riesgraf.

The preliminary numbers were based on a snapshot of enrollment as of Oct. 1. In December, the district will do its annual detailed analysis of enrollment trends and modify projections if needed.

Overall, enrollment is declining slightly, as expected. On Oct. 1 the district had 20,125 students enrolled. Elementary-aged students accounted for 11,156 of those enrolled. There were 4,408 at the junior-high level and 4,855 in senior high. The early childhood special education programs had 485 students. All levels were at or near projected enrollment.

Despite the board’s decision to cut of about $2 million from this year’s budget to “align staffing with enrollment,” class sizes remained similar to last year.

An average kindergarten class had about 21 students. In first and second grade, that went up to 32 students. Third-grade classes had 25 students on average, while fourth-grade classes had 27. In fifth and sixth grades, average class size was approximately 28 students.

In addition to averages, Riesgraf noted the range of class sizes for various grade levels. For kindergarten through third grade, the smallest classes had 15 students, and the largest has 28. The range for fourth through sixth grade was 17-33 students per class.

Although Riesgraf gave district-wide averages, she said not all the schools have the same average class size. She showed a table listing average class sizes by school and grade level.

Some schools, such as Zanewood Elementary, had smaller average class sizes than because they receive compensatory aid from the state, Riesgraf said. The state awards compensatory aid based on the number of students who receive free or reduced-price lunches at a given school, and 10 schools in the Osseo district get that aid. Those schools can use the money to pay for additional classroom sections.

Riesgraf also presented average class sizes for the four core subjects (English, math, social studies and science) at the secondary levels, but she gave a disclaimer.

“Secondary class size averages also vary by school, and at the secondary level it’s sometimes difficult to have a meaningful average because the variance in class size is based on many factors,” she said.

Those factors can include master schedules, site-specific programs, student registration and more, she said.

Class sizes in the core subjects for junior high range from 23-31 students. They range from 22-31 in senior high.

“In summary, this year our enrollment projections for 2012 are very close to actuals,” Riesgraf said. “Our average class sizes are very similar to last year. And we continue to provide additional support at all sites to have smaller group sizes and to provide personalized instruction at those sites.”

The entire presentation and slide show are available at district279.org in the materials from the Oct. 16 meeting.