NC House Bill 90 ("Class-size Bill")
The state requirement to reduce K-3 class sizes remains in effect. The legislature has given school districts four years to gradually implement class size limits. We must start now if we expect to meet the deadlines. Those changes will require local funding. They will also require changes in student assignment to reduce the number of students in our most crowded schools.
Here's our plan:
1. Maximize the use of our school buildings to fit additional students
Many schools already have had to make adjustments to meet the initial requirements of the legislation, including converting storage rooms, conference space and offices into 81 classrooms. Others have combined two classes and two teachers into one room to meet the standard. Individual schools will make their own decisions about how to get the most out of available space.
2. Reduce the number of students attending crowded schools
Nearly half of our elementary schools are over 100% capacity even with the use of trailers. The K-3 class size mandate means we will need to consider reducing or controlling the student populations at some of these crowded schools. We will move students into new schools as part of the 2019-20 student assignment plan. We also could place enrollment caps on overcrowded schools mid-year, and require students at multi-track year-round schools to move to a different track where there are more seats available.
3. Increase the number of classrooms and teachers
Long-term, we estimate we will need 438 new classrooms by the 2021-22 school year to comply with the legislation. That’s roughly equivalent to eight new elementary schools. The legislation does not include funds for new facilities or classroom teachers. By 2021-22, the year of full implementation, we will require an additional $6.5 million for personnel to maintain current levels of service.