Parents voice concerns about crowded classrooms

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WPRI) – Parents of Portsmouth 5th graders voiced their concerns Tuesday night, in regards to classroom sizes.

5th grade classrooms have a maximum capacity of 26 students, and parents at Tuesday night’s School Committee meeting said something needs to be done before they reach the limit.

“We all know large class sizes are not good for our children nor is it good for our teachers. It’s a big deal for these kids and these families,” said Margie Brennan.

Brennan’s son will start middle school on Thursday. She and other parents tell Eyewitness News that they want an 8th classroom teacher added to help reduce the class sizes.

“We want to make sure it’s a great experience for all of our kids. We just want to be proactive know versus reactive.” said fellow mother Kristen Casey.

The board was not able to hear parents’ concerns Tuesday, because their request was not on the agenda. School Committee Chairwomen Terri Cortvriend said they don’t make those kinds of decisions until after the school year has started.

“We have a military contingency and as the superintendent stated on the first day of school, sometimes we actually see a drop of what our project enrollment is going to be versus the kids that actual show up so we would like to see who shows up,” said Cortvriend.

Brennan greatly disagrees with that policy. “The fact that they’re banking on that and not taking into consideration the military families that moves into our community, knowing that that’s going to tip us over, just doesn’t make any sense,” said Brennan.

School Officials said they will not make any adjustments until full attendance is taken after October 1st.

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