Thousands Of Texas Classrooms Exceed Size Limits

More Texas classrooms exceed state limits for class size due to recent budget cuts. About 8,000 classrooms are requesting class size waivers from the Texas Education Agency.

State law in Texas calls for one teacher for every 22 students in classrooms from kindergarten through the fourth grade.

TEA Spokewoman DeEtta Culbertson says as of January 10th, 287 school districts have requested class size waivers.
That represents about 8,000 classrooms.

"And this is a large number for this year. We believe the majority of it is due to financial conditions."

Last year, just over 2,000 classrooms requested the waivers and the year before that it was even fewer — with 1,761classes
exceeding the state limit.

The state legislature cut school funding by $5.3 billion, leaving many districts no choice but to lay off teachers.

"We believe some schools have combined maybe smaller classrooms. Of course, state law still stands at 22 to one. But we believe that some schools and districts have combined smaller size classrooms into larger ones, thereby prompting the requests for waivers."

In HISD, 146 elementary schools are requesting the waivers for more than 1,000 classrooms, compared to less than 700 classrooms in 2010. The district lost nearly $90 million in state funding this school year.

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Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...