Doing more with less

Students returning to Spanish Fort classrooms Monday might have noticed a few more faces than in years past, but larger classrooms are a small price to pay when weathering proration amid steady growth, school officials said.

We’re doing as well as can be expected from the budget cuts,” said Rockwell Elementary School Principal Robbie Owen, who was forced to cut three positions—but only one teaching unit—when the state announced sweeping funding cuts in April.

The school was spared what might have been a devastating staffing blow, however, when district lines were redrawn earlier this year to funnel some Rockwell students to Spanish Fort Elementary School along with six teaching units. So while Rockwell closed the 2008-09 school year with 830 students, it begins 2009-10 with only about 650, a number Owen expects to exceed 700—on par with SFES—before the close of the year.

Doing more with less