Utah Senate passes bill to lower class size

From the Salt Lake Tribune
by Lisa Schencker

The Senate passed a bill Wednesday to lower class sizes for young children, despite arguments from some that it could hurt schools because of the cost.

SB31 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.

“As we all know, the early grades are critical years in a child’s education,” said bill sponsor Sen. Karen Morgan, D-Cottonwood Heights. “These are the years a child learns foundational math and reading skills that will determine their future success.”

A number of lawmakers also praised the bill because it would require schools to meet the new caps in order to continue receiving millions of dollars a year that have long been intended for class size reduction. A 2007 legislative audit showed that $460 million meant to make class sizes smaller in Utah over seven years hadn’t led to any change, though some have said class sizes would have been even larger if not for that money.

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