EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- Eugene's 4J School District has more students than it expected this school year and has brought back several teachers to help deal with the surprise student load and to help lower class size.
4J has about 300 more students for the 2012-13 school year than it expected. In response the district has hired the full-time equivalent of sixteen new teachers.
The majority of those additions are going to eight elementary schools including Adams, Buena Vista, Edgewood, Gilham, Bertha Holt, River Road, Twin Oaks and Willagillespie.
Adding teachers has helped the district shrink its elementary class sizes as well.
4J says the average number of children per elementary class is now 26 students, which is on par with the 2011-12 school year. The district aims for a cap of thirty elementary students per classroom.
When the district started the school year, there were about sixty classes above thirty children. Now, there are only about seventeen classes above the threshold. For some, it means changing classrooms.
"It is a transition to start the school year with one teacher and then maybe adjust to maybe being in a class with a different teacher. But if that means having a much more manageable class size, that's great for students. That's really a positive over the course of the year,” says Kerry Delf, Communications Director for the Eugene 4J School District.
While the equivalent of sixteen full time employees are joining 4J, the actual number of new teachers will actually be more than taht, as some of the hired positions are part-time. Most of the teachers that were hired back are one who taught with 4J last year.
As for the cost, 4J will spend about $1.5 million on the extra teachers. About $1 million of that is being accounted for with already set aside contingency funds. The rest is being paid for with energy savings from facilities and departments in the district’s schools.