CLASS SIZE IS CRITICAL
FIRST, A FEW FACTS.
Elementary class size guidelines are set per Board of Education (BOE) policy. 
As part of the budget process last year, the BOE decided to exceed their elementary class size guidelines for this school year to cut costs.  They chose to allow classes in grades 2 through 5 to surpass their stated guidelines and to approach the BTA limits.


Current BOE guidelines recommend:
  • For grades Kindergarten through 2, a maximum of 23 students
  • For grades 3 through 5, a maximum of 25 students
Per their contract, the Bedford Teachers Association (BTA) has their own limits that the BCSD is not permitted to exceed. Those limits allow:
  • For grades Kindergarten through 1, a maximum of 25 students
  • For grades 2 through 5, a maximum of 28 students
THE CONCERN?
Smaller class sizes are optimal for learning.  Countless studies have proven that fact. At their June 1, 2016 meeting, the BOE debated aligning the current guidelines with the BTA limits - thus allowing 25 students per class in Kindergarten and first grade, and 28 students per class in second through fifth.  That debate was put on hold at the time, but we do not want to see it reopened.

THE RESULT?
We started the year with 8 classrooms across the district that exceed the BOE guidelines.  Some students have left and the current status is:
  • There are 2 second grade classes at Bedford Hills Elementary that exceed the guideline, each with 25 students.
  • There are 2 fourth grade classes at Mount Kisco Elementary that exceed the guidelines - 1 with 27 students and the other with 26.
  • There are several other classrooms at Bedford Village, Mount Kisco and Pound Ridge that are at their absolute maximum according to BOE guidelines.
RUNNING THE NUMBERS
With this year's enrollment, if the BOE had decided to align their guidelines with the BTA limits, the result could have been:
  • Bedford Hills Elementary:  2 First Grade classes of 24 & 25 students;  2 Second Grade classes of 25 students each (reality this year)
  • Mount Kisco Elementary:   4 Fourth Grade classes of 25, 25, 26 & 27 students (reality this year)
  • Pound Ridge Elementary:  2 Kindergarten classes of 24 students each; 2 Fifth Grade classes of 27 & 28 students
  • West Patent Elementary:   2 First Grade classes of 23 & 24 students; 2 Second Grade classes of 27 students each; 2 Fourth Grade classes of 27 & 28 students and 2 Fifth Grade classes of 27 & 28 students
If the BOE continues to exceed their established guidelines, large class sizes can occur at ANY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN ANY GRADE…it all depends on the numbers.

Large class sizes are not acceptable.  Our students and our district deserve better. 



Please join us and make your voice heard. 

We've created a letter that can be easily emailed to the BCSD Administration and the Board of Education.

STEP 1: 
Click this link to add the addresses to your email  Start My Letter
*This link may not work for all email clients - if it does not or if you would rather send a letter through the mail, please click here: District Addresses
STEP 2:  Use the subject line:  Class Size is Critical
STEP 3:  Copy and paste the letter into your email
STEP 4:  Personalize the text as desired
STEP 5:  Sign your name and SEND!

Dear Dr. Manno, Dr. Adelberg and members of the Board of Education,

As residents and taxpayers in the Bedford Central School District (BCSD), we are concerned that the Board of Education (BOE) may consider changing its elementary class size policy.   As a result of budget cuts, we’ve already seen many elementary sections increased above the limits established in the BOE guidelines for this 2016-2017 school year.  Furthermore, at its June 1, 2016 meeting, the BOE debated aligning the current guidelines with the Bedford Teacher Association’s (BTA) contractual limits.  We will not stand by idly and allow this to happen.  We believe continuing to change or loosely adhere to this policy will have serious long-term consequences in academic achievement, as well as, property values.

Although the BTA’s contract would allow for increased class size, there are countless studies that demonstrate lower teacher to student ratios improve a child’s learning experience.  Grades K-5 are formative years in a child’s education.  If teachers are spread too thin, they cannot adequately help build a solid foundation in math and literacy for each child, and not to mention, a love of learning.

We urge you to keep the existing guidelines in place and adhere to those guidelines regardless of any budgetary issues facing the district.  Our own superintendent, Dr. Christopher Manno, recognized the important role class size plays in education when he stated at the October 26, 2016 BOE meeting, “We will not justify or attempt to state that we’re in favor of higher class sizes.  We know that research is very clear that lower class sizes make a difference and are positive.”  In sum, we feel strongly that as the BOE engages in its budget deliberations for 2017-2018, a guiding principle must be retaining and strictly adhering to the existing district class size guidelines.

Sincerely,