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Parents Complain Of Overcrowding In DCPS Elective Classes

Steven Depolo

Adding an extra class period to the day so Duval County middle and high school students can take an elective is proving a popular decision.  So popular, in fact, that parents are complaining about overcrowding.

The Duval County School Board extended the school day this year to allow students taking remedial classes the ability to take at least one elective.

School Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti says some schools have seen an explosion in the number of students signing up for the extra courses.

The job right now, he says, is figuring out exactly which schools need help.

"Our enrollment numbers need to settle and once that happens and we clearly know where the larger class sizes are, we will be giving the school an additional teacher or having a teacher teach an extra section and then be paid an extra fraction of their salary for offering that extra class."

According to Vitti, the most popular electives are IT (tech) and culinary arts.

While more students sign up for electives, Vitti says classes in the core subjects — reading, writing, math, and science — have been made smaller to comply with Florida’s class size amendment.

The adjustment was made to avoid a repeat of last year, when only 86 percent of the district's core content classes were in compliance with the amendment, the lowest percentage in the state.

That failure is expected to cost the district more than a million dollars in penalties.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.