- What are the class size limits?
In general, the class size limits are as follows:
- Grades K1-2: 22
- Grades 3-5: 25
- Grades 6-8: 28
- Grades 9-12: 31
Please note the following important exceptions:
In schools designated Level 3 or Level 4 by DESE, the maximum in grade 6 is 26, and in grade 9 the limit is 30.
In inclusion classes, there can be no more than 20 students with a single teacher at any grade level.
In Bilingual, ESL, and SEI classes, there can be no more than 20 students at any grade level, or 25 if a paraprofessional is provided.
SLIFE classes are capped at 15 students.
Self-contained Special Education classes are capped at 8 students, or 12 with a para.
In elementary schools where there is only one regular education class in a grade level, the above maxima may be exceeded by one or two students. Similarly, in secondary schools where there is a singular regular education course offering (for instance, only a single section of French 4, or AP Physics, etc.), the maxima may be exceeded by one or two students.
Some very specialized classes may have a smaller class size.
- Are these strict limits?
Yes. BTU members, and the students we serve, have among the strongest class size language in the state. While we might want the actual limits to be lower, the limits themselves are firm.
When the Boston Public Schools assigns more students to a class than are allowed under our contract, they do a disservice to those students. It is our job to ensure that the children we teach get the differentiation and personalized attention that they deserve. We can do this by insisting that our class size limits are enforced. Paying a stipend is generally not an acceptable way to resolve a class size grievance.
- What should I do if my class size is over the limit?
First, file a grievance immediately. For school year 2017-18, you can do this online at https://btu.org/member-resources/csg/ At the same time, please download and print the form at the same website and record your class size each day throughout the year. We will need this at the end of the year to process your grievance and ensure proper payment if compensation is required.
Second, you should insist that the class size issue is addressed. This could involve moving a student or students to a different class or section, opening a new class, or adding a teacher. While the district may offer a paraprofessional or payment to you, our advice is to “insist that the class size maximum be enforced.” This follows our contract, and ensures that our students get the education they deserve.
- My principal gave me a form to waive the grievance and accept payment. Should I sign it?
No. Do not sign any form without consulting with the union office. In recent years, the BPS has convinced many teachers to sign a form accepting a “stipend” in order to settle their grievance. The School Department did not negotiate these settlement forms with the BTU, we do not believe they are valid, and we are challenging their use. We believe that class size issues are properly addressed by moving students or adding personnel, not paying money. If your principal offers you a form to sign, please check with the union office before signing.
- What payment is owed to teachers who taught oversubscribed classes and the grievance was not resolved by the end of the school year?
There are two arbitration decisions governing this situation, named for the arbitrators involved:
Golick and Dorr. The calculations are different for elementary and secondary/specialist teachers, but in every case, teachers are owed significantly more than $1500 per student.
- I filed a class size grievance in a previous school year. What is happening with that grievance?
There is a case being heard by an arbitrator that covers the years 2007-2015, and another case covering 2015-2018. While we don’t know when any of these cases will be resolved, it is our hope and intention that the arbitrators will rule in our favor and teachers whose classes were over the limit in the past receive appropriate compensation. Rest assured that we are hard at work to accomplish this.
- Who do I contact for more information?
Please contact BTU Executive Vice President Erik Berg at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 617-288-2000.