The Durham County Commission Asks the NCGA to Hold Off on Class-Size Reductions | Triangulator | Indy Week
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The Durham County Commission Asks the NCGA to Hold Off on Class-Size Reductions 

Durham County commissioners are appealing to state legislators to put off the implementation of a law reducing the size of kindergarten through third-grade classes, and are hoping other local boards will follow suit.

The law, passed in 2016, lays out K–3 class size limits for the 2018–19 school year, reducing the number of students allowed per class by about four on average. On Monday, commissioners passed a resolution asking for a delay and said they would send the template to other local boards for consideration.

Critics say the policy doesn't allow enough time or funding to implement the change and will force schools to cut art and physical education teachers to pay for more classroom teachers. The legislature had originally passed more immediate reductions, but those requirements were eased earlier this year after parents, students, and educators complained.

Still, commissioners said, Durham Public Schools would need to build an additional sixty-three classrooms and hire an additional ninety teachers to meet the requirements of the law. The school system doesn't have enough money to build the new classrooms, the resolution says, or sufficient funds or time to set up mobile classrooms. The resolution asks that the General Assembly fully fund smaller classes and phase in changes to class size. 

"An immediate reduction in the K–3 class size maximum will worsen an already very difficult environment for [local education agencies] in finding licensed and qualified teachers to fill classrooms," the resolution says, "most likely leading to more classrooms taught by long-term substitutes or lateral-entry teachers who do not have the pedagogy and classroom management necessary."

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