Wake County Schools

Wake school officials say class size cap could hurt education

Posted September 5

— A state mandate to lower class sizes in kindergarten through third grade is meant to improve learning, but some schools in Wake County are running out of room to make it work.

School board members on Tuesday discussed what it would take to meet the requirements of the new mandate and said 9,500 more seats would be required.

Most elementary schools can make it happen, in some cases by holding multiple classes in a classroom, blending grades and increasing class sizes in upper grades.

"We would have to look at some combination classes, putting some of our specials on a cart, looking to change or convert our computer lab or what we call our collaborative space, even our art and music classrooms," said Sycamore Creek Elementary School Principal Kristen Faircloth.

The class size mandate is more difficult for 27 schools which could face attendance caps. Transfer students at those schools may be sent back to their base assignment school.

"Some of our principals think the sky is falling," said Superintendent Jim Merrill.

Board member Bill Fletcher said, in some cases, the class size mandate intended to improve learning could actually hurt it.

“There needs to be some rational discussion about that with the folks that made the decision that this is the right allocation strategy for every school in North Carolina,” he said. "It certainly isn't going to improve instruction for the majority of our kids."

School board members are still weighing their options and the discussion will continue in a meeting later this month.

"I haven't heard anything said about looking at a long-term change to providing a whole lot more seats," said board member Donald Agee.

The district on Tuesday evening also approved pay raises for transportation staff. The change increases starting salaries for bus drivers from $12.55 per hour to $13.11 per hour and reduces the time it takes for a driver to reach the $15 per hour threshold from 13 years to seven years.

"I appreciate the dedication and commitment of Wake County bus drivers. This increase in pay is important as we work to retain these critical employees and recruit additional staff,” said Bob Snidemiller, WCPSS Senior Director for Transportation.

7 Comments

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  • Matt Wood Sep 6, 3:16 p.m.
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    Most parents I know with 2 kids have trouble. You try teaching 30 kids at one time....

  • Matt Wood Sep 6, 3:16 p.m.
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    And this here, folks, is why we need better education in NC.

  • Jerry Sawyer Sep 6, 10:24 a.m.
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    Oh yes, another excuse for not doing their jobs.

  • Jeff Freuler Sep 6, 10:07 a.m.
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    Your last sentence hit the nail on the head when it comes to one of the people who literally broke this state then passed it on

  • Tim Blanchard Sep 6, 9:19 a.m.
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    If we have so many kids in USA schools, then why are we complaining about ending DACA? We should not have to educate every other country's kids.

  • Glenn Perry Sep 5, 7:49 p.m.
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    Who wanted all these people here --who was told NC did not have the roads, schools, police ,firemen and I could go on, what was the joke going around Wilson NC that he was going to curb and gutter at the ends of farmers tobacco fields so he could prepare for shopping centers and housing developments ,who used kids and education to get to parents so they would vote for him, who is behind the loss of so many beautiful farms in NC to concrete especially Wake and Johnston county--JIM Hunt should have his retirement taken from him for what he has done to this state