A round of applause from parents greeted the Cupertino Union School District board of education's unanimous decision last week to continue the current class size reductions through the 1997-98 school year.
The decision was made at the board's regular meeting on Feb. 11 with approval of a class size reduction proposal submitted by the district administration.
The decision affects approximately 700 Los Altos children who live within the Cupertino Union School District boundaries. They are enrolled primarily at Montclaire Elementary School in Los Altos.
The district includes 11,500 students in kindergarten through sixth grade.
The class size reduction proposal approved by the board continues the full-day first grade class size reduction, which has dropped the student-teacher ratio from 31-1 in the 1995-96 school year to the current 20-1.
The staggered kindergarten schedule, which has been in place for over a decade, will also be continued.
The plan also gives each school staff the option of implementing half-day second grade class size reduction by assigning additional teaching staff for reading and math instruction.
According to Beverly Armstrong, assistant to the superintendent, no additional classrooms will be necessary to implement this class size reduction proposal for the 1997-98 school year.
"We see this (class size reduction proposal) as an interim measure," Armstrong said.
The board of education held study sessions in September 1996 and this past January to gather staff, parent and community input on the implications of class size reduction.
"At those times parents praised the board's fiscal responsibility," Armstrong said.
The board also held four special meetings in December and January with senators Byron Sher and Ted Lempert, and Assembly members Elaine White-Alquist and Jim Cunneen to discuss the financial implications of class size reduction.
Looking ahead, Armstrong said, "the future depends on what happens on the state level with legislation for classroom funding and class size reductions. Right now, everyone is cautiously optimistic that we can move ahead gradually with class size reductions that are so positive for our students without having to put other student programs in jeopardy."