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Math on Gifted Magnet Classrooms

One question about gifted magnet classrooms is the cost.  After all, if the district takes one or two students from each classroom and put them in a separate classroom, hasn’t it just added a classroom at an approximately $100,000 expense?  In financially tight times, it is hard to justify this cost.

However, removing one or two students from a classroom and lower the number of students in the grade at that school has possibility to reduce the number of classrooms needed for that grade.  Let’s follow the math to see if magnet classrooms have a cost.

An average RCS elementary school has about 90 students per grade level.  Some are smaller and some are larger, with most falling in the range of 75-105 students.  With approximately 5-7% of students being gifted, this would be 4 to 7 students per grade per school.  We will go with 5 students to make the math easier.

The maximum number of students that can be in a classroom for first, second, and third grades according to the REA Master Agreement is 30 students.  At 90 students, you can have 3 classrooms.  At 91 students, you are required to have 4 classrooms.  With a max class size of 30 students, removing 5 students from a grade level gives a 1 in 6 chance the school can drop a classroom at that grade level.  With 13 elementary schools each having 6 grades, this is 13 classrooms that could be dropped.

How many classrooms would we need?  At approximately 1150 students per grade level district-wide, 5% of the students would be 58 per grade, or 2 classrooms per elementary grade throughout the entire district.  This equals 12 classrooms.

Since the number of classrooms remains essentially the same, the cost to the district would be the administration of the program.  Grosse Pointe Schools covers this cost through a teacher who works a few extra hours a week for additional pay.  Based on the above calculations, magnet classrooms would be a cost-effective way to help meet the needs of gifted learners in Rochester Community Schools.

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