The move is meant to give the Georgia’s 180 school districts flexibility on how to spend their limited funding amid the worst state financial crisis in decades.
It’s the second year in a row the state school board has granted such a waiver; through last year class size was limited to an average of two more students per class.
State lawmakers passed a measure during this year’s legislative session giving the state authority to let school districts make the call rather than imposing limits.
Under the measure passed May 24, Georgia Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza said local school boards will be asked to pass a resolution stating that they plan to exceed the state’s current class size maximums.
Parents and other local community members must be fully aware of any of the class size changes that the local board will make, so the resolution must be approved at a local board meeting, Cardoza stated.
Gordon County Schools Superintendent Bill McCown said the county school system has anticipated the need to increase class size for the coming school year.
“We appreciate the flexibility granted by the state board, but it’s not the intent of the Gordon County board of education to dramatically increase class size. Parents and students may expect class size to increase by one to three students,” McCown said.
Calhoun City Schools Superintendent Michele Taylor said the school system does not anticipate using the class size option at this point.
“We will continue to provide differentiated instruction for our students and will utilize the flexibility granted by the state if needed. Smaller class sizes allow us to better meet the needs of our students,” Taylor said.
Prior to this, school systems whose classes exceeded the state’s limit had two options: seek a waiver from the state to keep the class intact or splitting a class up and hire another teacher.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.