Republican leaders of the General Assembly say they have worked out a deal on what has become known as the k-3 class size fix.
They did not release the full details of the proposal. But here are the key points highlighted at a press conference Thursday afternoon:
- The lower class size requirement for kindergarten through third grade would be put on hold. There would be no changes for the next school year. The lower class sizes would then be phased in through 2022
- School districts would get additional funding for arts, music and physical education teachers. This would total some $250 million by 2022.
- Lawmakers say the proposal would also eliminate the wait list for students in pre-k programs.
This is a breaking news story and we will update this post when more information becomes available.
The General Assembly approved a budget two years ago that set the maximum number of students per class range from 16 students for 1st grade classes to 18 for kindergarten. Right now the average k-3 class size is 20 students. Those changes were due to go into effect in the fall of 2017. Last April, that was extended to next school year.
The law did not allocate additional money that many school leaders said was needed to pay for the teachers and classrooms required for compliance. School districts said they may have to fire arts, music and physical education teachers in order to find the money to pay for the requirement. Republican lawmakers, especially those in the North Carolina Senate, disagreed. They said the schools had already been given enough money to comply.