Senator Karen Morgan’s bill to reduce Utah class sizes advances

From the Salt Lake Tribune
by Lisa Schencker

Despite some debate and disagreement, lawmakers advanced a bill Thursday to reduce class sizes in grades K-3.

The Senate approved Sen. Karen Morgan’s SB31 by 18-9 on second reading on Thursday, meaning the Senate must now pass it one more time before it moves to the House. The bill would cap class sizes at 20 students in kindergarten and at 22 students in first, second and third grades. Or, it would require teachers’ aides, known as paraprofessionals, in larger classes.

Before lawmakers approved the bill, Morgan amended it to raise the caps slightly, reducing its cost to $3.6 million. Lawmakers also amended the bill to specify that in order to continue to receive state money that’s long been distributed for class size reductions, schools would have to meet the new caps.

“Kindergarten through third grade is a critical time in a child’s education,” Morgan, D-Cottonwood Heights, told senators. “That is the time they need more one-on-one individualized attention.”

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