Last week, Novi High School teacher Rod Franchi made a claim in the Detroit Free Press that Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget cuts would “likely make 40 students per classroom commonplace.”

It’s not an uncommon complaint, but in the case of the Novi School District, it is one that deserves a closer look. As of 2009, Novi had 325 regular classroom teachers and 6,250 students. That’s a 19.23 to 1 student-to-teacher ratio.

Michael Van Beek, education policy director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, notes that student-to-teacher ratio is not the same as classroom sizes, but it does give an idea of how many teachers are available in the district.

In an email, Franchi said that not all teachers work in a classroom, and that some could be in a resource or reading room.

Franchi repeated the 40-student claim in an email to Michigan Capitol Confidential.

He said that Novi “would probably have something like 40 students per class in many of our conventional classes. I was careful in choosing my words; I didn't say all classes but said 40 students would be commonplace.” 

But Van Beek noted that with 325 regular classroom teachers and 6,250 students, even if 100 teachers left the district  nearly 31 percent of the teaching workforce — there would still be one teacher for every 27.7 students in the district.

That’s far short of the 40 students per teacher.

If classes did swell to 40 students per teacher, Van Beek asked, “What would the other teachers be doing?”

And then there’s the Novi teachers’ union contract. It states that for high school classes, the maximum size allowed is 28 students. Once a class exceeds that size, the solutions include assigning an extra teacher or paraprofessional to the class to assist the first teacher.

Novi Superintendent Peter Dion didn’t respond to messages left for comment about the possibility of classrooms with 40 students.

The Detroit Free Press biography for Franchi notes that he teaches economics, civics and Advanced Placement U.S. History; and that he also has masters’ degrees in English and Social Studies Education from Wayne State and the University of Michigan, respectively.

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See also:

Cutting state spending requires going where the money is: K-12 education

The 'Real World' vs. Public School Finances

Rochester Schools Raise Pay, Report Cuts, and Blame Governor

Does the Lansing School District Really Pay ‘Below the Poverty Line’ for Teachers?

Teacher Union Prez: Stronger Emergency Financial Managers is "Just Like Being in the Slave Days"

The Compensation of An “Unappreciated” and “Devalued” Spanish Teacher

Snyder K-12 Cuts Embellished by Critics

'Budget Cut' Doesn't Mean the Same Thing to Public and Private Sectors

West Michigan School Super Claims Budget Cuts — But Do the Numbers Add Up?

Teacher Union Employee Exaggerates Snyder Budget Cuts and More in Email to Rally Members

Decade of Cuts Is Claimed by School District Giving 14 Percent Raises Over 24 Months

Are Teachers Not 'Treated With Respect' by Taxpayers?

Analysis of Michigan Teacher Salaries Compared to Rest of Nation

Analysis: Schools, Health Insurance and Corporate Welfare

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The Hesters attended Detroit public schools and believe now as parents, families need to have buy-in to make school a success for their children. Upon research, they found a charter that best suits their needs and their daughters are excelling.

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