The president of the East Side Union High School District Board of Trustees today expressed regret over student overcrowding in some of its schools this year and said the district would start "corrective measures" next semester to reduce class sizes.
"It will be much better than it has been," J. Manuel Herrera said late this afternoon just before the district's five-member board began its public meeting.
Herrera acknowledged that "there were some missteps" by the district "that led to more students than there should be" in some classes in the district's schools.
"We regret it," he said. "It could have been handled better."
Starting with the upcoming spring semester, the district will begin taking "temporary corrective measures" to reduce class sizes before launching a "comprehensive strategy" for the next school year, such as giving teachers their class rosters of students in June instead of August, Herrera said.
Herrera spoke by phone minutes before today's board meeting was set to start at 5 p.m.
Members of the East Side Teachers Association, made up of teachers, school counselors, social workers and psychologists, held a rally outside the boardroom prior to attending the meeting to address the board.
Association president Marisa Hanson said this afternoon that the members of the union have had to deal with overcrowding in more than 700 classes since school started this fall, resulting in about 9,000 student transfers over a two-week period.
Some of the classes have had four or five students over capacity and under the union's contract, the district had 18 days to correct the situation but did not, Hanson said.
Overcrowding and transfers cause problems for students and teachers, who lose their relationships with transferred students, have to teach new students what they may have missed in their class and then figure out grades considering their work from different classes, Hanson said.
The district "did a poor job" at the start of the school year estimating which East Side Union High schools would have overflows of students, as some schools had 50 to 60 fewer pupils than planned and some had about 100 more, Hanson said.
The union has been operating under a labor contract with the district that expired on Aug. 31 and is seeking a new one, she said.
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