Senate approves "flexibility" for elementary class sizes |

Senate approves "flexibility" for elementary class sizes

Staff reports

The Senate on Friday passed legislation supporters say will give all Nevada school districts more flexibility in using class-size reduction money.

SB44 would allow Nevada’s other 16 school districts to do something similar to what Elko did four years ago. That was to spread the class-size reduction money designated for grades 1-3 over all six elementary school grades. By so doing, maximum class sizes in grades one and two increased from 16 to 22 and grade three went from 19 to 22 students. But grades 4-6 all fell from the mid-high 20s to just 22 students.

Elko teachers have reported to lawmakers the system is working better for Elko.

But Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, said she opposes SB44 because it doesn’t include accountability to make sure there are controls over what the districts are doing.

She said since classroom space is the real problem for many school districts, “we could end up with 44 students in a classroom with two teachers.”

Sen. Ray Rawson, R-Las Vegas, called for support saying the bill is designed to allow flexibility so each school district can develop the best plan for its students. He said there is accountability since those plans have to be approved by the state Board of Education and an annual report made to the state.

The final vote was 17-4 to pass the legislation with Titus joined by fellow Democrats Bob Coffin, Maggie Carlton and Terry Care in opposing the bill.

SB44 goes to the Assembly for consideration.