For the third year in a row, Moscow schools are too full to allow admission of out-of-district students.
Superintendent of Moscow Schools Greg Bailey said class sizes in the district have reached their limit.
Were the school district to push class sizes past what has been agreed upon between teachers and the district, Bailey said the district would then be required to pay the teachers additional money to compensate.
“We typically get quite a few out-of-district applications,” Bailey said. “But this year, just like the last two years, we’ve just said we can’t meet their needs and still meet the needs of our community as well.”
Bailey said the cost of living in Moscow is higher than the surrounding area, partially because the school district enjoys robust support from local tax dollars.
He said while it is understandable many families elect to live outside of town, giving them unmitigated access to a school system that is not supported by their taxes is unfair to local families.
Bailey said he is chiefly concerned with the well-being of students, but he must also be a good steward of community tax dollars.
In balancing these interests, he said, it is important to consider that larger class sizes are linked to a diminished quality of the education provided.
“There’s so many minutes in a day,” he said. “Divide it by how many kids you have and if you have more kids in there, then you have less time one-on-one with the students.”
Bailey said it’s difficult to justify straining district resources while diminishing the quality of education in order to include out of town students when they already have a school assigned to them.
Before the district could consider expanding class sizes, he said it would first need to expand staffing and facilities to support a larger body of students. Bailey said, there is also the occasional problem of a parent lying about where they live so their student can enroll in the district.
“That’s a big no-no, if we find that out, we remove the student right away — it doesn’t matter if it’s mid-semester or not,” Bailey said. “To lie — that’s basically stealing from local taxpayers and the school district.”
Scott Jackson can be reached at (208) 883-4636, or by email to email@example.com.