- Associated Press - Thursday, April 27, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Easing class-size mandates in North Carolina’s early grades next fall by phasing them in instead over two years is now the law.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper signed Thursday the compromise legislation from Republicans an hour after it received final General Assembly approval by the House.

The fix came about as school districts complained meeting the lower maximums in kindergarten through third grade this coming year would mean layoffs for art, music and physical education instructors and crowded classes in other grades. The new law directs district leaders to provide information about how classroom teacher money is used.

Cooper and his allies used the moment to blast Republicans on public school funding. But House GOP leaders said education money has been increasing, and the legislation will provide more transparency for taxpayers.

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