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Cooper Appeals To Lawmakers To Fund Class Size Reduction Mandate

Governor Roy Cooper visited this second grade class at Cotswold Elementary School which would have to make changes to comply with the smaller K-3 class size mandate.
Alex Olgin

Governor Roy Cooper was in Charlotte Friday to make his pitch to lawmakers to give schools more money to implement smaller class sizes. He visited with second graders at Cotswold Elementary School. Legislators mandated that elementary schools get kindergarten through third grade classes below 18 students by next school year. While Cooper thinks the idea could improve learning, he said the current plan puts schools in a tough situation because no extra money has been dedicated.

“You need more classroom teachers and you need more classroom space," said Cooper. "Because you are going to have to have more k-3 classrooms in order to meet K-3 requirement.”

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools says it would need about $43 million to hire enough teachers and add trailer classrooms to meet the requirements. The governor suggested another option this special session - consider phasing in the requirement so schools can adjust overtime.

The original provision passed two years ago, mandating the change take place in fall of 2017. Last April, that was extended to next school year.