San Marcos CISD Votes to Keep Class Sizes Small

Welcome to September! And congratulations to San Marcos CISD students and staff on a successful first week of school!

It has been a busy and productive summer on the board. As SMCISD experiences record-high enrollment, I am proud that our students returned to school last week to find smaller class sizes, more teachers, safer schools, and competitively paid teachers who have improved access to healthcare services.

In June, SMCISD school board members spent three days in San Antonio with trustees from all over the state as part of the Texas Association of School Boards Annual Summer Institute. We were trained on local and state school policies, and heard presentations from education experts on a range of topics including successful strategies for closing the achievement gap, fostering college readiness, incorporating the arts into STEM programming, and effectively advocating for public schools.

Over the course of multiple meetings, workshops, and public hearings in June, July, and August, the board worked with SMCISD administrators to construct a budget for the 2015-16 school year. That 2015-16 budget was finalized last night and includes the following provisions:

• compensation increases for teachers, hourly, and administrative employees by 3.8%, 5%, and 2.5%, respectively

• fully-funded basic health insurance for all employees

• hiring at least a dozen new teachers in order to maintain a 22:1 ratio in our K-4 classrooms

• hiring full-time assistant teachers in our preschool classrooms to create a 22:2 ratio

• the addition of a full-time G/T facilitator with an emphasis on issues of equity and reaching at-risk students

I am proud to say the SMCISD Board passed a forward-looking budget that accounts for future needs AND reinvests our taxpayers’ money in classroom instruction, smaller class sizes, hiring the best teachers, safer schools, and expanded educational opportunities–without raising tax rates.

It’s a great day to be a Rattler, y’all.