In San Mateo County, there are several thousand more students than there were a few years ago, but several hundred fewer teachers.
The number of full-time equivalent teaching positions in the county dropped some 18 percent between the 2008-09 and 2010-11 school years, according to data provided by the countyís Office of Education. Meanwhile, the countyís total student body kept creeping up.
No official analysis has been conducted about why this is happening, but educators believe it can largely be blamed on growing elementary school class sizes. Just a few years ago, nearly every kindergarten through third-grade classroom had just 20 students. Today, many school districts average 25 or even 30 students in those classrooms, county Superintendent of Schools Anne Campbell said.
That was the case in the San Mateo-Foster City School District, where the average class size has increased from 20 three years ago to 25 or 26 today, said Assistant Superintendent Molly Barton.
That was a change the district made reluctantly, but it had little choice when faced with state budget cuts, Barton said. While teachers are valiantly doing what it takes to continue to educate children, she said thatís tougher when there are more students.