Class-size reductions on tap for K-5 EIP classes

JONESBORO — The Clayton County Board of Education will vote on whether to reduce class-sizes for many of its K-5 students.

The state board of education recently granted an exemption of class-size maximums for 2014-15, allowing cash-strapped school districts to increase class sizes as a way to cut down on personnel costs and stave off budget shortfalls.

The local board plans to vote on a resolution to apply for a waiver that includes continuing above-normal class-size maximums in several of its education programs.

But according to district reports, the board is also requesting a reduction in class-size maximums for K-5 early intervention program classrooms, from 19 students to 15.

EIP comprises self-contained and augmented classes that under normal circumstances are required to be no larger than 14 students, according to state law.

Chief Financial Officer Ken Thompson said the move to reduce EIP class sizes will require the district hire more teachers to the tune of nearly $1.7 million. That increase in expenditures is included in the board’s tentative budget for fiscal year 2015.

Thompson said the budget now out for public review and comment adds 166 employees to the district’s payroll, including EIP teachers.

The board is expected to vote June 2, on the class-size resolution as required by the Georgia Department of Education.