Vermilion Parish school will see their classes expanded due to an increase in student/teacher ratio. Superintendent Jerome Puyua has re-worked the ratio, to increase elementary and middle school by one student per class. The current ratio is 20-22 for elementary, 21-23 for middle, and 23-35 for high school.
The changes, which will take effect in the 2013-2014 school year, are due to unfunded mandates by the state, and an increase in retirement and health care costs. An influx of teacher retirement is also forcing Puyua to get creative when it comes to displacing teachers.
"No one's going to lose their job. It's just we are not going to replace some teachers that either retired or left the profession. We are not firing anybody and if there is someone that we need to replace at a school they will be displaced and put in another position at a different school, " he explained.
Some schools will gain teachers, but five schools will lose one teaching position altogether. Middle schools in the parish will be offering high school level courses
"Some of those teachers are going to start teaching those middle school courses and now we are going to have to have more students in some of our core classes in our high schools."
This will cause the ratio in upper level school to increase by two instead of one.
North Vermilion, one of the largest high schools in the parish, will have two new teaching positions. Principal Greg Theriot said his school will start the new year with almost 900 students. He said they are already teaching at the maximum ratio, and some of his classes even have 30 students per teacher. Theriot explained that it will be a juggling act, but he and his staff will work to ensure work is balanced between teachers. He also wants to work to make sure all students have an equal chance of receiving a balanced education.
"That's why we are going to work hard over the summer to balance schedules and make sure we have 25, 26, 27 in a classroom. In a class of 28, it is very difficult for that teacher to hit everyone's needs. So, it's our jobs as principals to schedule those teachers."
Theriot said scheduling will be a task, but he is determined to make it work for his school, staff and students.