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After Heated Debate, S.D. School Board Leaves Seminar Class Sizes the Same

There were some strained moments at the San Diego School Board meeting last night as board members argued over whether to increase the class size of a program for highly intelligent students. KPBS Education Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

The district's Seminar Program is for highly gifted students who have social or emotional problems. District officials want to expand the program this year by increasing a seminar teacher's class size from 20 kids to 25. But parents say the smaller class size allows teachers to challenge their kids academically AND help them develop socially and emotionally. School trustee Katherine Nakamura sided with the parents. She pounded her fist while explaining how this program keeps families from leaving San Diego public schools.  

Nakamura: They don't want to go private, but they will if they have to. The seminar program is an answer to their concerns.

Trustee Shiela Jackson argued with Nakamura over how much money it takes to preserve that 20 to 1 class ratio. Jackson doesn't believe the district should spend millions of dollars on just a select group of students.

Jackson: We are going to fund the education for our smartest children off the backs of our neediest children…then we have a problem.

In the end, the board voted 4 to 2 to keep seminar classes to 20 students. Jackson and trustee Luis Acle voted against it. The district spends $2.3 million on the seminar program. Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.

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