How Class Sizes Are Balanced

Projecting the number of students who will attend school in an upcoming year is extremely important. Student enrollment projections are vital in the planning of class sizes, teacher assignments, room assignments and acquisition of materials for those classes.

When school begins in September, we often see slight changes in our actual enrollment numbers when compared to what had been projected. Students who were expected at a school may have moved out of the area or more students than anticipated may have moved into a neighborhood school area. These and other variances in our ever-changing community may require us to reexamine staffing to ensure that our teaching staff is utilized in the best and most balanced way possible.

The procedure to balance classes begins as early as February, about seven months before the start of the upcoming school year. The following is a summary of the process:


Spring enrollment projections are reviewed. Principals provide feedback regarding the projected number of students estimated for the upcoming school year. Preliminary staffing allocations, including special education and English as a Second Language/High Intensity Language Training (ESOL/HILT), are forwarded to principals and Senior Staff.


Staffing allocations for the upcoming school year are determined and forwarded to principals and Senior Staff.


Principals work with staff and parents in reaffirming the projected number of students who will be returning to school in Arlington for the upcoming school year.


Principals’ requests for reallocation of staff, based on changes, special needs or special circumstances, are considered by Senior Staff. Special staffing requests are considered weekly, reviewing information provided by principals and other staff to determine staffing levels and areas where staff may need to be increased or reduced. Aspects of the process include:

  • Personnel Services and Administrative Services staff members visit with school staff to review staffing allocations.
    Student Services staff assist in determining staffing needs in Special Education.
  • Finance staff determine staffing allocations in all areas based on enrollment and the approved planning factors for each grade level and curriculum area.
  • Facilities and Operations staff works with schools to provide enrollment projections and make recommendations regarding space needs at the individual schools.
  • Division of Instruction staff assists to review and make staff recommendations in program areas such as ESOL/HILT, Language Arts and Title I.


The actual number of students enrolled are examined twice in September – on the seventh day of classes and on September 30.


Based on the actual enrollment figures of September 30, staff are moved when class sizes are extremely low in one school and when there is a need for a comparable position in another school. Enrollment projections, actual enrollment figures, class sizes and the impact of a move on the students, the school and the overall program are some of the factors considered when teachers are moved.
The Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Services works with principals and teachers in coordinating any necessary reassignments. The Assistant Superintendent of Student Services works with Personnel Services when special education teachers and/or assistants need to be reassigned.


Changes in staffing allocations are examined continually throughout the school year. The impact of new students who are enrolled throughout the year is considered regularly, and staff are added to accommodate these changes as needed.