Board quizzed on class sizes, low test scores

November 10, 2012

HANOVER TWP. – At Thursday's regular meeting, a member of the audience pressed the Hanover Area School Board for solutions to overcrowding at the elementary schools and low standardized test scores.

The woman, who declined to give her name, said the large class sizes contributed to Memorial Elementary School's failure to achieve adequate yearly progress, a federal mandate that requires all tested students to score proficient or better by 2014.

Board president John Pericci said he toured all three of the district's elementary schools and felt there is adequate room in the classes. The average class size is 26 students with the highest at 31. With projected increases in health insurance and pension contributions looming, Pericci said the district can't afford to reopen Lyndwood Elementary, as the woman suggested.

In order to avoid a tax increase, Pericci said, some sacrifices had to be made, which included reducing staff and faculty and closing buildings. Should we increase taxes to open that building? he asked.

Pericci also pointed out that the standardized math and reading test scores are a result of a complex equation that includes scores from a large transient and special education student population.

We are in a very difficult situation, he said. That's not to say we're giving up on that goal.

Dr. Daphne Pugh, director of curriculum, said the district has implemented several strategies to address the test score issue, including after school tutoring for students at Memorial Elementary.