The three largest classes of Brainerd students, all at Brainerd High School, will graduate from the school district within the next three years.
But as those students leave the district - along with their state funding - it won't leave much elbow room for the district's other students in kindergarten through ninth-grade, where class sizes now range on average from 23 to 30 students per class.
Brainerd Assistant Superintendent Steve Razidlo reported on class sizes at Monday's school board curriculum committee meeting. He said the district now has 7,162 students. There are 489 kindergartners, 502 first-graders, 491 second-graders, 463 third-graders, 477 fourth-graders, 528 fifth-graders, 472 sixth-graders, 530 seventh-graders, 526 eighth-graders, 551 ninth-graders, 575 10th-graders, 583 11th-graders and 568 12th-graders, he said.
The average class sizes for kindergarten through ninth-grade: kindergarten, 24.7 students; first grade, 23.9; second grade, 23; third grade, 23; fourth grade, 24.5; fifth grade, 29.3; sixth grade, 29.5; seventh grade, 26.5; eighth grade, 26.3; and ninth grade, 27.6.
The average size of classes at the high school varies from 14 students in a 12th-grade Advanced Placement physics class to 33 students in a 10th-grade geometry class.
Razidlo said the district will have to make adjustments in a few areas next year because of the larger class sizes. The sixth-grade class next year is expected to jump to 32.8 students per class. Razidlo also said adjustments need to be made for next year's Baxter Elementary fourth-grade class and BHS "B" level courses in order to lower class sizes.
Projected class sizes for next fall: Kindergarten, 24.5 students; first grade, 24.5; second grade, 25; third grade, 24; fourth grade, 24; fifth grade, 26.7; sixth grade, 32.8; seventh grade, 23.8; eighth grade, 26.8; and ninth grade, 26.4.
During the last four years, the district has reduced expenditures by more than $5.3 million and has further reduced its unreserved fund balance by more than $4.6 million to stave off more cutbacks. Budget cuts during the last four years have included 42 teaching positions, which can be attributed to much of the increase in class sizes.
JODIE TWEED can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.
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