Las Vegas Sun

September 2, 2015

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Lawmakers told teachers frustrated with oversize classes

CARSON CITY — Teachers are becoming more frustrated with the large number of students in the classroom in the primary grades, Clark County school officials said at a legislative budget hearing today.

Members of Joint Meeting of the Senate Committee on Finance and Assembly Committee on Ways and Means said the biggest complaint they receive from parents is large class sizes.

There was testimony that some classes had a student-teacher ratio of 40-1.

Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, said the state has never fully funded class size reduction measures and complained that “we are moving in the opposite direction.”

The state Department of Education presented information that 61.9 percent of students who enter high school get diplomas, and a national study shows per-pupil spending in Nevada is $8,419, compared to the national average of $11,721.

Lawmakers have heard testimony about the state’s funding of public education, but a good part of the hearing Friday was about crowded classrooms.

Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, D-Las Vegas, said she was a teacher for 17 years in the Clark County School District and has now moved into administration. She said when she came to Las Vegas, there were 30 to 34 students in a classroom, and four of her fellow teachers left after the first year complaining about the large class sizes.

James Guthrie, state superintendent of public instruction, suggested local school districts be given money for class-size reduction and let them allocate it.

He got support from Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka. “We need flexibility,” he said, “Trying to make a one-size-fits-all doesn’t work.”

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