A parent asked the Amherst School Board Monday to hire another second-grade teacher at Windermere Boulevard Elementary School to provide relief to over crowded classes that average 27 pupils.
Susan Domkowski, whose son is in a class of 27 pupils at Windermere, said there is an immediate need for a fifth second-grade teacher at the school.
She said if a fifth class was not created this year, the new teacher could provide an extra reading, math or other curriculum session to students in the four existing classes. She said funds for an additional teacher should be put in the upcoming budget so the new teacher could start next fall. She said 93 percent of Amherst graduates go on to college, but when recent graduates attended Windermere there were only 17 pupils in a class. She asked how the district expects to keep the percentage of college-bound students as high as 93 percent when elementary classes are so large.
The board put money into this year's budget to hire additional teachers, but teachers and aides were hired before school began so as not to disrupt or add sections during the year, said School Superintendent R. Timothy O'Neill.
"Our resources are restrained to do anything now, but your point is well-taken," said Board President Paul V. Batt Jr. Trustee Mary Michael Egan said since second-grade classes districtwide average 25 pupils, one way to balance classes would be to put all second-graders in one school. In a curriculum matter, the board heard a request from Paul Reitan and Lester Milbrath, professors at the State University at Buffalo, to develop an environmental education curriculum. Milbrath, a political science and sociology professor, said students have a keen interest in environmental matters, but have a low level of knowledge on how the different sciences work together. Reitan, a geologist, said students do not retain information taught in basic science classes and need to be taught about the environ ment in context with other sci ences, the humanities and social studies. The board asked Reitan and Milbrath to work with them on developing a curriculum.
In a financial matter, the board will be looking for citizen volunteers to join a 20-member com mittee that will give feedback to the board on its budget process. In addition to the public, the committee will involve Parent- Teacher Organization representa tives, teachers, administrators and non-teaching staff members. Meet ings to familiarize members with the budget process will start some time in November.