• 59°

Class-size debate, by the numbers

By Billy Ball

NC Policy Watch

When members of the North Carolina Senate passed a four-year plan for partially alleviating the state’s class size crisis Friday, some would say it was a long time coming.

Local school districts and public school advocates have long warned that a legislative order to chop K-3 class sizes would have deleterious effects on the state’s classrooms, demanding a massive investment in classroom space and possibly crowding out “enhancement” teachers — the arts, music and physical education instructors who would likely lose jobs as cash-starved districts scrambled to find budget space to meet the class size cap.

Lost in the debate is the fact that most, regardless of political affiliation, want a concrete approach to reducing class sizes in the vital early grades. But the details are of vital importance in this debate.

Here are some key numbers to remember, as the state House considers the class-size fix this week.

1.5 million: Number of public school students in North Carolina

115: Number of North Carolina school districts, all of which are impacted by the state’s class size crisis.

4,750: Number of estimated new classroom teachers required to meet the General Assembly’s pending class size cap.

$239 million: Amount needed to fully fund classroom and “enhancement” teachers under the General’s Assembly 2018-2019 class size cap, based on historic ratio of one enhancement teacher per six classroom teachers.

1: Number of years to retain the status quo, with phasing in of smaller class size caps in the ensuing three years.

$61 million: A recurring investment in “enhancement” teachers included in the General Assembly’s new GOP-authored class size bill, House Bill 90.

$8 billion: Estimated amount of infrastructure needs in the state’s public school systems, not including the cost of new classrooms needed to meet the legislature’s class size mandate.

$1.9 billion: Amount of proposed statewide school bond for school infrastructure. A bill to place a bond on the ballot has widespread support in the state House, but has failed to gain any traction in the Senate.

$0: Amount budgeted for public school infrastructure in the legislature’s class size bill.

Sources: House Bill 90, “The Unraveling: Poorly Crafted Education Policies are Failing North Carolina’s Children” and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction

Comments

Crime

Blotter: Man charged with breaking into used car dealership, stealing Ford Mustang

Crime

Kannapolis man charged with accidentally killing foster brother

Business

Renting out Wrenn House is next on menu for Bell Tower Green Park

Local

City to purchase, replace floating aerator devices for wastewater treatment

Business

NC Community College president details importance of connection between businesses, educational institutions

Entertainment

Sheriff: Alec Baldwin fired prop gun on movie set that killed woman

Coronavirus

CDC panel recommends expanded COVID-19 vaccine booster rollout

News

Truck driver killed after collision with school bus in Newton

Crime

Iredell County man charged with murder after three bodies found in burned Statesville house

Crime

Massive search for Laundrie ends as FBI identifies remains in Florida

Cleveland

Nation’s largest barn quilt mural to be unveiled in Cleveland on Saturday

College

Charlotte among six schools joining American Athletic Conference

Crime

Few details available after Kannapolis shooting claims life

Business

East Spencer apparel store will host free luncheon for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

College

Catawba College receives record $200 million contribution to endowment

Crime

Blotter: Bullet holes found at Salisbury home

Crime

Rowan Sheriff’s Office releases details of NASCAR driver’s assault at coworker’s home

Elections

Council candidates discuss city’s handling of ‘Fame’ relocation, protesting, pandemic

Business

Making Memore: Entrepreneurs harness power of Kannapolis’ Food Innovation Lab

Education

Shoutouts

Business

DuPont purchases Salisbury-based manufacturing business

Christmas Happiness

Christmas Bureau opens applications for families to get holiday assistance

Education

Spencer Library hosts life pathways event

Local

Salisbury-Rowan NAACP President Gemale Black seeking state branch’s top spot