House panel kills bill that would cap classroom sizes

From the Salt Lake Tribune
by Robert Gehrke

A bid to shrink class sizes for kindergarten through third grade was derailed Wednesday after a House committee killed the measure, arguing it would hurt school districts.

“It’s a good program, but it’s an unfunded mandate,” said Rep. Wayne Harper, R-West Jordan, “and in the future they’ll be back here asking us for money or there will be a multitude of problems.”

SB31 sought to cap class sizes for kindergarten through third grade, phasing the caps in over four years. Kindergarten classes would be capped at 20 students, first and second grade at 22 each, and third grade at 24.

Sen. Karen Morgan, D-Cottonwood Heights, said the current class size in the early grades is 27 per classroom, although many have more than 30 pupils.

“It’s very difficult for a child to receive the individual attention they need in such circumstances,” she said. “With that many children, it often becomes a situation of crowd control versus learning.”

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