Calendar changes, trailers may help Wake schools meet new class size requirements
Posted August 9
Cary, N.C. — Traditional-calendar students in Wake County head back to school in less than three weeks, but before welcoming kids back, school leaders are trying to figure out how they’ll handle a new state mandate for smaller class sizes.
State-mandated reductions in class size for kindergarten through third grade take full effect in the 2018-2019 school year, and district officials estimate they will need 5,900 new elementary school seats in a county already facing constant student population growth.
"That's a bunch of seats we are going to have to find," said Wake County school board member Bill Fletcher.
Of the 113 elementary schools in Wake County, most would be able to make changes to create enough additional space, but about 20 schools said they have no room to spare.
Possible solutions for those 20 schools include restructuring the schools or school assignments, adding trailers, moving fifth grade students to middle schools or moving schools to a multi-track calendar.
District officials have also considered moving art or music from classrooms to portable carts.
"It is not a preferred way to provide that kind of instruction. It can be done," Fletcher said. "There are lots of possibilities. Nothing has been decided yet."
District officials are still researching the issue, and additional meetings are planned. Recommended solutions are expected in December.
One school board member suggested that state lawmakers attend future meetings to see the impact the class size rules are having on the district.