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Pequenakonck School May Add Fourth-Grade Teacher

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – Pequenakonck School could get another fourth grade teacher "if the enrollment numbers stay where they are and there is not a major drop-off," Superintendent Ken Freeston told the Board of Education Monday.

The number of teachers for the fourth grade at Pequenakonck has been a bone of contention between the board and a group of parents. As of last week, the board had planned for three classes of 24 and one of 25. By agreement with the Teachers Association, the board considers 25 students to be the optimum number, and 28 the maximum.

The parents, however, campaigned for smaller classes and argued that the apparent need for fewer kindergarten teachers in the fall will free funds to employ an additional fourth-grade teacher. This would produce three classes of 19 students and two classes of 20.

The board has authorized Freeston to reallocate a teacher from kindergarten to the fourth grade if kindergarten enrollment remains at its current level, which is lower than expected.

“I want to thank everyone for their patience,” said Freeston. “This has been an educational year for all of us. This issue was one of our most highly engaged parts of the budget.”

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