- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 7, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Latest on legislation in the North Carolina House designed to address maximum class sizes in early grades (all times local):

11:15 a.m.

Backers of legislation to scale back maximum class-size restrictions set to take effect this fall say the proposal would give school districts more flexibility and avoid the possible elimination of special programs like art and physical education.

A House education committee voted Tuesday for legislation that would ease the planned maximum-student requirement in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms.

The state distributes money for classroom teachers on a per-student basis. Districts have had the ability to make the size of their classrooms larger on average than the student ratio in which they receive the funds. The leftover funds have helped districts hire instructors for elective courses. A state budget provision last summer would have eliminated that wiggle room.



The bill received bipartisan support and the backing of groups representing school boards and teachers. The measure now heads to the House’s budget-writing committee.

___

5:05 a.m.

Some North Carolina lawmakers want to respond early this session to worries from local school districts that new class-size restrictions in early grades are too difficult to meet financially.

A House education committee scheduled a meeting Tuesday to discuss legislation that would ease the planned maximum class size mandates in kindergarten through third grade this fall.

The limits are based on a state budget provision approved last summer for individual classes and for the average throughout a district. Districts are worried meeting those requirements could mean having to hire more teachers without additional funds, forcing them to cut things like art and physical education.

The proposed legislation would still lower maximum sizes next fall compared to this year but they wouldn’t be as restrictive, particularly in grades 1-3.

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