Quogue School places cap on classroom sizes

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The Quogue School Board has agreed to place a cap on class sizes in the Quogue School, setting the limit at 18 students per classroom for grades one through six, and 15 students per classroom for kindergarten and prekindergarten.

The resolution, which was adopted on September 9, states that the cap was enacted to “recognize the importance of small class size in a district that emphasizes an inclusive approach to education.” Smaller classes also allow students to receive more individual attention from teachers and aides.

The Quogue School, which currently has one classroom per grade, employs a teacher and a teacher’s aide for every class. “We want to make sure classes don’t get too big,” said School Board President Walter Stockton.

If a class has fewer than 18 students, the district can draw from a lottery pool of non-resident students, who are now on a waiting list, to fill the quota. Board members noted that 18 students per class is an optimal number for the district.

Mr. Stockton explained that keeping class sizes at 18 students, and not a lower number, should weaken arguments made by those taxpayers who want the Quogue School closed and the district merged with a neighboring school district.

“That’s the last thing we want,” Mr. Stockton said, adding that a merger would uproot students and, in his opinion, cause an increase in property taxes. Board members noted that, in the past, some classrooms have had fewer than 10 students.

Quogue School Superintendent Richard Benson said the 18-student cap could be raised if demand from within the school district grows, or if there are extenuating circumstances. The resolution states that “these limits may be adjusted if circumstances warrant.”

“We look at every class individually,” Mr. Benson said.

“It’s a delicate balance,” Mr. Stockton added.

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