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Board Resolution on K - 3 Class Size Ratios

The Orange County Schools Board of Education recently passed a resolution on K - 3 class size.  The resolution requests that the North Carolina General Assembly pass legislation as early as possible in the 2017 session to provide local school districts with the class size and funding flexibility needed to avoid the severe negative impacts.  The resolution became effective on April 10, 2017.  We encourage our families to read the full text of the resolution below:

Resolution on K - 3 Class Size Ratios

WHEREAS, local school districts receive state funding for classroom teacher salaries based on funding ratios of one position per a specified number of students at each grade level; and

WHEREAS, local school districts have traditionally been afforded flexibility to allow class sizes in kindergarten through third grade to exceed the classroom teacher funding ratios within set limits; and

WHEREAS, this approach has provided local school districts with crucial flexibility to fund teaching positions in art, music, and physical education – none of which receive separate funding allotments – by setting aside some teacher allotments to cover salaries for those positions; and

WHEREAS, G.S. 115C-301, as amended by Section 8.33 of the 2016 Budget Bill, codifies funding ratios by statute and precludes these past practices; and

WHEREAS, the loss of flexibility in this area would have immediate and negative effects on school districts throughout the state, including one or more of the following: (i) drastic cuts in art, music, and physical education teaching positions in kindergarten through third grade; (ii) a dramatic increase in class sizes in grades four through twelve to free up state teacher allotments to fund those positions; and/or (iii) sudden new financial burdens on local governments to provide the funding for those same positions, which could necessitate property tax increases; and

WHEREAS, the loss of flexibility in this area would require an immediate reduction in class sizes in kindergarten through third grade, which in turn would increase the number of physical classrooms required at these grade levels, thereby putting additional strains on crowded school facilities and in many cases requiring the purchase of modular classrooms at substantial additional costs; and

WHEREAS, if the issue is not addressed legislatively in the near future, school districts and counties will be forced to develop their 2017-18 budgets in the spring on the assumption and understanding that large increases in local funding may be needed to meet sudden new demands on school facilities; and

WHEREAS, legislative action is urgently needed to avoid the serious, statewide, negative impacts described above; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Orange County Board of Education respectfully requests that the General Assembly pass legislation as early as possible in the 2017 session to provide local school districts with the class size and funding flexibility needed to avoid the severe negative impacts described above.

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