Classes in the Granite School district continue to be large, according to figures released recently.
"The ideal situation would be pupil-teacher ratios lower than the ones we currently have," said Darrell Johnson, director of personnel. "Utah has the largest class sizes in the country."Pupil-teacher ratios at the junior high and high school level in Granite are 27.4 to 1 and 25 to 1, respectively.
The district has targeted the early grades for ratio reductions to give teachers more one-on-one time with young students. In second and third grades, pupil-teacher ratios have decreased by 1.48. The ratio is now 26.37 to 1.
Pupil-teacher ratios in fourth, fifth and sixth grades have also decreased by 0.65, from 31.44 to 30.79.
The Granite Board voted this summer to shift two mills from capital outlay and other budgets to maintenance and operations so class sizes could be reduced. The 1990 Legislature authorized the two-mill option specifically to address class sizes across the state.
The district now has a tax proposal on the Nov. 7 ballot to raise the mill levy by two mills so the shifted monies can go back to their original budget categories. If voters do not support the levy, class sizes will increase again, a district official said.
"We're still working to reduce class sizes; we have not completed our goal yet, but we'll keep trying," Johnson said.
The number of students in the Granite School District has increased 1,486 in the 1990-91 school year.
Last year's enrollment reached 76,212. Total district student enrollment, including alternative and special schools and classes, is 77,701 this year.
The number of teachers at the elementary level has increased from 1,434 to 1,486 full-time equivalent teaching positions. At the secondary level, the number increased from 1,159 to 1,209.
Growth in the elementary grades has slowed, but increases at the secondary level are greater, indicating overall growth will peak in a few years.
There are 261 additional students in grades K-6, boosting the district's enrollment in those grades to 44,000.
Kay Kissell, assistant director of elementary personnel, said the district will need additional funds from the two-mill levy proposal to maintain proper class-size ratios this year.
Enrollment in kindergarten and first grade dropped from 6,028 to 5,937 and from 6,368 to 6,155 students, respectively.
Enrollment in the second and third grades also dropped by 107 students, from 12,963 to 12,856. But in grades four, five and six, it jumped by 672 students, from 18,380 to 19,052 students.
At the district's 15 junior high schools, enrollment increased by 527 students, from 17,053 to 17,580. And at the district's nine high schools, enrollment increased by 779 students, from 13,417 to 14,196.