As reported by the AJC, the State School Board has removed classroom size caps for the time being. This is not a surprising turn of events as many local school boards are facing a decreased budget and have been forced to implement RIF (Reduction In Force) policies to eliminate teaching positions.
The board vote means that Georgia school districts can raise class size by 5, 10, 15 — or as many students as they choose — without seeking a waiver from the state board of education. But board members contended that local school boards can be trusted to act responsibly.
“We have got to trust the local school boards are going to do right by their students and their student achievement,” said State School Superintendent Kathy Cox after some board members balked at eliminating any caps on class size.
“We don’t have a choice. We didn’t give them enough money,” said Cox. Cox noted that in the last year state funding to schools has been cut by nearly $1 billion. She and other board members argued that they should not micromanage or impose increased regulations at the same time Georgia schools are dealing with the worst financial crisis in their history.
Education is where the majority of the state budget is invested and as noted elsewhere this morning, teachers have in the past taken credit for being a force in the political landscape. A constrained budget has implications, naturally, in the race for State Superintendent – but I would watch for Governor candidates to ramp up rhetoric in regard to their plans for education to try and capitalize on the educator vote.