NEW ULM - Class sizes in New Ulm are relatively high compared to schools in the South Central Conference (SCC) and other area schools, according to a report by Superintendent Harold Remme.
Remme's comparison includes current information about grades K-6 in the following schools: New Ulm, Waseca, Blue Earth Area, St. Peter, St. James, Fairmont, Jackson County and Martin County West (MCW). Several of the systems reviewed are comparable in size to New Ulm as a whole.
Remme focused on elementary grades, because high-school classes are organized differently. Section size tends to vary significantly by subject and is, in some instances, determined by specific constraints, such as availability of specific facilities or state regulations.
New Ulm's section sizes in most of the grades examined exceed the average sizes for the group. For example, New Ulm's kindergarten sections have an average of about 25 children each, compared to 19 in the reviewed group. In first grade, New Ulm sections have about 24 students, compared to an average of about 20; in second grade, it is 25 versus 20; in third grade, it is 29 versus 22; in fourth grade, 23 versus 24; in fifth grade, 28 versus 25; and in sixth grade, 30 versus 26.
Despite some ups and downs, class sizes have generally increased over the past few years in New Ulm, as a result of budget cuts.
The district has stated class-size reduction as a priority for spending the funds generated by a new operating levy of $575 per student per year passed last fall.
Among other things, Remme's report provides a brief overview of enrollment in schools in and around New Ulm (located on the territory of District 88). Highlights, according to Remme:
* New Ulm Public Schools have an enrollment of 1,925 students (grades pre-K-12); New Ulm Area Catholic Schools, 468 students (grades K-12); Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School, 205 students (grades 9-12); St. Paul's Lutheran Elementary School, 252 (grades K-8); Lafayette Charter School, 126 (grades pre-K-8); and Immanuel Lutheran Elementary School, Courtland, 58 (grades pre-K-8).
(St. Paul's and NUACS also have pre-K programs that serve the public.)
The River Bend Education District, which serves seven public and three charter schools, has 75 students enrolled in its Area Learning Center (an alternative high school program); 22 in the TEAM program (a therapeutic setting); and 17 in the IMPRINTS program (a self-contained program for students with emotional and behavior disorders, EBD).
Martin Luther College has an enrollment of 700-plus, according to the report.
* The following child-care facilities were also listed in the report: Kids Connection (a District 88 program), with 63 students on the main campus site and 25 on the Washington Elementary School site; the Kids X-Cel Center (count not listed); the MLC Early Childhood Center (count not listed); Little Rascals Childcare at Marktplatz Mall (count not listed); and several in-home care operations.