RALEIGH, NC - Republican state lawmakers on Thursday unveiled an effort to improve student outcomes in the early grades by phasing in smaller class sizes and lower student-to-teacher ratios in kindergarten through third grade classrooms, providing millions of additional state dollars to fund special subject area teachers and eliminating the state's Pre-K waiting list.
The co-chairs of the House and Senate education committees worked closely with school superintendents, while listening to parents and teachers, to develop a plan that doubles down on the legislature's years-long effort to improve academic outcomes for students by the end of third grade.
The plan addresses concerns by phasing in implementation of class size reductions over the next four school years - with no changes to the status quo in the first year - giving school administrators ample time to plan and take the necessary steps to meet those requirements.
Under the proposal, school systems across the state will continue to receive about $70 million each year to cover the expense of hiring additional K-3 teachers needed to meet the class size requirements.
"From parents to educators to lawmakers to Gov. Cooper, nearly everyone agrees that lowering class sizes is an important priority that will have a real positive impact on academic outcomes for our students," said Sen. Chad Barefoot (R-Wake.)
"After months of work reviewing the data and hearing from stakeholders, I believe we've arrived at a data-driven solution that will achieve the smaller classes that we all support and that taxpayers have paid for, with a timeline and framework that our local schools should be able to implement successfully."
"Lower class sizes are an important part of North Carolina's innovative education reforms that provided teacher pay raises, hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding and education options for low-income students," said Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union)