Perrysburg enrollment up


PERRYSBURG – With classes starting this week, the Perrysburg school district is experiencing an
unexpected growth in its student population, and that’s causing crowded conditions in some classrooms.

Superintendent Tom Hosler told the Board of Education this morning that the initial estimates after a
last minute registration rush had the student population growing 2.4 percent. The district has been
growing about 1 percent a year, he said.
That puts the district just several students shy of 4,700, said Treasurer Matt Feasel.
The board this morning voted to hire another half-day kindergarten teacher for Fort Meigs after class
sizes in the half-day kindergarten program reached 29.
Class size at Frank’s kindergarten is approaching 26.
And the problem is compounded by the fact that there’s not much space in the schools to put another class
Hosler said there’s no room at Toth and at Frank it would mean doubling up special needs classrooms.
The growth comes just a year after the district, in order to restrain spending, eliminated some teaching
Resident Chris Vogel, who does volunteer work analyzing demographics for the district, said that two
buildings of 25 apartments each, of the development on Roachton Road near the intersection of Ohio 25,
have opened. One building has multiple-bedroom apartments. He estimates based on past history that when
the 288-unit development is finished, it will add as many as 50 students to the district’s rolls.
Board President Val Hovland said some growth was expected because troubles in the economy would have
students transferring to public schools from private schools.
The state has also passed new legislation demanding higher standards. That includes a requirement that
kindergarten through grade 3 classes not have any more than 15 students, and that all districts provide
all-day kindergarten to all students.
Hosler maintained that the legislation provides an exception from the class size rule for districts that
are rated excellent. Perrysburg has received that top rating for eight years now.
Still Hovland asked: "How do we maintain that excellence with large class sizes?"
No exemption for the all-day kindergarten requirement exists, Hosler said.
That means the district will have to revisit its space needs, he said. Redistricting, which involves
moving students from one school to another, is not the answer.
"Redistricting works when we have space," he said. "We don’t have space."
The board must now take a hard look at class sizes and space needs, he said.
Board member Gretchen Downs said that they should start by looking at the information and analysis
provided by The Collaborative when the board was last considering a building project.
In November 2006, voters decisively rejected a bond issue that would have expanded the junior high and
made improvements at the district’s five other schools.
Hovland said in her reading of the bill, she saw no provisions for the district to increase funding to
cover the costs of the new mandates.
Hosler noted that an estimate showed it would cost the Cleveland schools about $1 billion to meet the new
requirements. Such high costs, he speculated, may cause the state to rethink the new mandates.

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