SAGE backed by school committee
ELLSWORTH -- Appeals to keep the program were made as the local review committee presented a Student Achievement Guarantee in Education report to the Ellsworth School Board on Monday.
Curriculum and Instruction Director/Hillcrest Elementary School Principal Leona Johnson outlined data the committee analyzed regarding the program, which promotes reduced class sizes in elementary schools through third-grade. Included were:
State guidelines and the philosophy behind SAGE
Ellsworth district's current waiver
The state Department of Public Instruction's response to this year's program in Ellsworth
Current class numbers and projected numbers for next year
Budget impacts of keeping SAGE next year
Projected class sizes without SAGE and average class sizes at area schools
The district will have to be fully compliant with SAGE's student-teacher ratios in 2010-11 to continue receiving funding. The committee will submit a local compliance plan by Feb. 1.
If the district doesn't continue its participation, it can't reapply for SAGE funds in the future, committee members noted. A ratio of one teacher to 15 students is a benefit of continuing.
Regarding enrollment, the committee examined three scenarios: one with SAGE classrooms for next year; one without SAGE, yet keeping class sizes at 22 or fewer students; and one without SAGE, yet with class sizes at 25 or fewer.
Subsidies from the state are expected to be close to $260,000; the SAGE subsidy is $2,250 for each low-income child served.
"SAGE costs the district approximately $100,000 a year," Johnson said, indicating six teachers are available to the program locally.
Supt. Barry Cain suggested proceeding with the Feb. 1 report, which "doesn't commit us to SAGE."
A parent and a teacher spoke about how the program benefits students.
The board took no action.