District 65 administrators told the school board this week they hope to avoid turning any students away from Dewey and Willard elementary schools this fall by adding more classes.

The Evanston Roundtable reports that Paul Brinson, the district’s chief information officer, had told board members last week that he believes the district could deal better with larger class sizes than with having to tell parents their children would have to go to another school.

The current plan is to convert a staff lounge and an art room at Willard and an art room at Dewey to provide space for three general education kindergarten classes this fall at each school.

The administration last week also proposed reducing the number of gen-ed third grade classes to two at each school, to avoid increasing the total number of teachers. That would mean increasing the size of the average third grade class to 27.5 students at Dewey and 28 at Willard.

But on Monday Superintendent Hardy Murphy said the district’s financial picture was looking somewhat better, and it may be possible to avoid eliminating the third grade classes.

If the district followed through with its plans earlier this year for an enrollment cap at the two schools, eight kindergarteners at Dewey and 15 at Willard would have been sent to other schools this fall.

Original story

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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