Mobile classrooms? Classes on carts? No easy options in Wake County class-size reduction discussion

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No easy options in Wake Co. class-size reduction talks (WTVD)

All options were on the table but none of them were easy pills to swallow at Wednesday's meeting of Wake County school board members to discuss strategies to confront the state-mandated class-size reductions.

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Board members spent hours discussing everything from mobile classrooms to forcing some teachers to give up their classrooms altogether and teach from a cart instead.

Under the new rules laid out by state lawmakers, elementary schools across the state must reduce their maximum class size in kindergarten through third grade from 24 down to 21 students.

District staff told board members the new rules will trigger a loss of 559 classrooms and 9,500 seats district-wide.

A special committee of Wake County school principals offered different solutions; including adding mobile classrooms - basically, trailers that could be hauled onto campuses. Another suggestion to free up space is to take classrooms away from art and music teachers - allowing them to travel from class to class on a cart with wheels.

Board member Bill Fletcher said there will be no one-size-fits-all strategy.

"I would think based on what we heard today, we would like to be able to have a firm answer by the first of the year as to the options, and that will vary by school," Fletcher said. "These are potentials, these are possibles; and the actual impact will vary by school based on what the conditions are in that location."

Another option is shared classrooms - two teachers instructing separate groups of students in one classroom.

None of the options are ideal. Board members know that.

They're hoping that state lawmakers from Wake County will accept their invitation to visit school sites. So they can see first-hand just how complicated this state mandate will be.

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