April 26, 2017 Legislative Update

Class Size Issue – A Fix Has Been Found

On March 24, the Senate Education Committee met to discuss the class size issue and review and discuss potential changes to House Bill 13 that provide a fix for the class size issue that compromises the jobs of many teachers, including art, music, drama and PE teachers. PENC has worked diligently with legislators to come up with an option that would save jobs and ease the burden of implementation of the class size requirements this year.

Under the revised House Bill 13, class size requirements would be phased in over the next two years. Flexibility would be provided for the 2017-2018 school year  by relaxing the class size maximum to allow for an average class size in a district in K-3 of no more than 20 students. The size of an individual class in K-3 would not be able to exceed 23 students. Starting with the 2018-2019 school year, districts would be required to comply with the new class size maximum requirements, which are as follows:

* Kindergarten: 18 students
* 1st Grade: 16 students
* 2nd Grade: 17 students
* 3rd Grade: 17 students
Note: By the end of the second month of school, the size of an individual class in K-3 shall not excel the above allotment ratios by more than 3 students.

This measure would also require school systems to provide detailed reports about how state funding is being dedicated to K-3 class size reduction.

Additionally, sources say that a special funding steam will be created starting in 2018-2019 that would separate allotment for specials teachers as a way to ensure funding for those positions is maintained and secured. This allotment provision will be included in the final budget.

You can review the amended bill in its entirety HERE.

Submitted by Bryan Holloway
For information about specific issues, please contact lobbyist@pencweb.org.

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