addresses one of the most highly charged topics with which we have yet engaged this session, due largely to- imagine this- false information. While the General Assembly has funded the reduction of K-3 class sizes to the tune of about $100 million dollars over the past six years, the flexibility given to local school boards has not resulted in the desired lowered class sizes. The General Assembly responded in 2016 by requiring that specific reductions take place in the 2017-2018 school year. Many citizens falsely claimed that this was an unfunded mandate. Many school administrators falsely claimed they could not meet the requirements without hundreds of thousands of additional dollars.
Senate Education Committee
on which I sit, employed a very inquisitive
approach to this problem and requested detailed spending information from each of the state's 115 school boards. A thorough review of this data revealed that the funding of these class reductions was used in other places. The Senate modified the House version of HB13 to ease into the requirement of lowered calls size over the next two years, as well as to require that school administrators submit specific, detailed, and timely information regarding their expenditures and progress towards lowered class sizes.
In addition to all the misinformation, I have been dismayed through the process because so many citizens did not acknowledge our ultimate goal, and recognize the critical issue to ensure that our third-grade students are prepared for the last several years of their education. Research repeatedly reveals that the performance of K-3 students dramatically marks their success in life. Lower class sizes will greatly help improve performance for students at risk for low performance. Study after study reveals that a poor performing third grader is likely not to learn the skills they need later in life to become a happy, healthy, productive member of society. We know this result can create a socioeconomic class that later depends on the remainder of society instead of contributes. Let's also please reflect on the fact that the outcome of the decisions we make today will not be realized for potentially 13 years, and we should stop wasting time to address the issue.