A bill to return flexibility to local school districts on how they set class sizes passed a House committee Tuesday.
The current state budget requires that districts, beginning in the 2017-18 school year, reduce the maximum average K-3 class size from 21 students to 18 in kindergarten, 16 in first grade and 17 in second and third grades.
Also for the 2017-18 school year, lawmakers had lowered the maximum individual K-3 class size from 24 students to 21 in kindergarten, 19 in first grade and 20 in second and third grades.
School districts say they don’t have enough classrooms, and warn that the changes will force them to cut PE and art to provide the teachers.
Rep. Chuck McGrady, a Hendersonville Republican, said it is important to move the bill before the next state budget is approved because local governments need to know what the legislature decides as they work on their own budgets.
“This isn’t a total fix,” McGrady said. “It is a fix that will get us a long way there.”
The bill now goes to the House Appropriations Committee, where it’s scheduled for debate on Thursday.
House bill 13 is identical to legislation the House passed during a special session in December, which the Senate did not debate.