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Questions and Answers About High School Class Size

Frequently asked questions and answers about Morgan-Hart Class Size Reduction.
Q1

Our district has participated in the old Morgan-Hart Class Size Reduction Program in Grade 11 English. Do we have to eliminate the grade 11 program in order to participate in the two courses in grade 9?

A1

The Education Code allows a school district participating prior to June 30, 1998, to continue with the grades 10, 11, or 12 class size reduction and also implement one or two additional courses in grade 9. If the district chooses to eliminate the grades 10, 11, or 12 class size reduction program, the program cannot be reinstated in the future.

The funding for the grades 10, 11, or 12 class size reduction program cannot exceed the total funding received by the school district for the program for grades 10-12, inclusive, in the 1997-98 fiscal year.

Q2

I am already participating with grade 9 English. Can I add two additional courses in grade 9?

A2

No. The legislation completely amends the original act and only allows for the implementation of one or two courses in Grade 9. One of the courses shall be English and the second course shall be designated from mathematics, science, or social studies.

Q3

Do all classes in the Grade 9 course at each participating school site have to be included in the class size reduction program?

A3

No. The application for funding requires the names of the courses included in the class size reduction program, the schools that are participating, and the number of classes at each participating school.

If one or more schools in the district are not participating they simply are not included on the application or certification documents.

If a participating school has, for example, ten sections of grade 9 English, any number of those sections may be included in the program. A school may have ten sections of Grade 9 English. Two of these sections may be Honors English with a total of 50 students and the other eight sections may have a total of 160 students. The school site should only include the eight sections having an average class size of 20:1 and not include the two Honors classes with the average of 25:1 since these classes have more than the maximum 22 pupils enrolled. The funding would be paid for the 160 students participating in the class size reduction program. The students not participating in the program are not included in the enrollment count on the application or certification documents.

Q4

Does the district decide which two courses will be participating in the class size reduction or can individual schools choose different courses?

A4

The district must apply and one of the two courses must be English, but the second course designated from mathematics, science, or social studies could be different at each participating school. For example, School A could participate with English and mathematics; School B could have English and science; School C could have English and social studies; and School D could have just English.

Q5

How will funding apportionments be determined?

A5

For purposes of determining the funding apportionment, the legislation uses the term "full-year equivalent enrollment." An estimate of the implementation of the class size reduction program will occur through the application process. This will allow school districts participating in the program to receive an initial estimated appropriation. An end-of-the-year compliance and certification document will determine the final appropriation for each participating school district.

For Example: A participating school implements Grade 9 English at the beginning of the school year, thereby having a full-year equivalent enrollment of 180 days/180 days or 100 percent. A second course is added to the class size reduction program and implemented on November 16. (Let's assume that 60 school days have elapsed from the beginning of the school year to November 16.) This second course will have a full-year equivalent enrollment of 120 days/180 days or 66.67 percent.

If the funding apportionment is $180 per pupil of full-year equivalent enrollment, the district will receive the following: 100 percent multiplied by $180 = $180 per pupil for the students certified for the entire year, and 66.67 percent multiplied by $180 = $120 per pupil for the students certified for the program implemented in November.

Q6

Is the class average of 20:1 computed for the district or for each participating school?

A6

The class average for Grade 9, under the new legislation, is computed for each participating school. The class average for the "grandfathered in" grades 10, 11, or 12 is computed for the district as a whole, which is how the act read on July 1, 1998.

Class averages are rounded to the nearest whole unit. Therefore, a class average for each participating school could compute to 20.4 and be reported as 20:1 and still be in compliance.

Q7

We have a few tenth graders taking our Algebra 1 class, although most of the students are ninth graders. How does the class size reduction funding work in this situation?

A7

The Education Code states that the course must be a ninth grade course meeting the graduation requirements as set forth in Education Code section 51225.3. A reasonable person looking at the district's course offerings needs to be able to determine that the class identified for class size reduction is a ninth grade course. The few tenth, eleventh, or twelfth grade students enrolled in the Algebra 1 class, for example, will count as part of the class average and total enrollment and also receive the funding apportionment.

Title 5 regulations limit the district funding for Grade 9 class size reduction at an amount not to exceed two (2) times the number of students in its ninth grade enrollment.

Q8

Our school is on a block schedule where a full year of instruction is completed in one semester. How will the funding be handled for this situation?

A8

With a block schedule that includes a full year of instruction in one semester, each semester will count as a full-year of equivalent enrollment. Instead of using 180 school days in the fraction for computing the percent of school year you will be using 90 days as the denominator of the fraction.

Questions:   Jerry Winthrop | jwinthrop@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0457
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