I must admit that I was impressed when I saw that Senator Karen Morgan (D – Salt Lake –District 8) proposed SB 31, Classroom Size Amendments. It is short, it is sweet, and it cuts to the very core of one of the principal problems with Utah schools: large class sizes.
Morgan is proposing that there be no more than 18 students in a kindergarten class, 20 students for a 1st grade class, 22 students in a 2nd grade class, and 24 students in a 3rd grade class in any English, math, science, or social studies class.
The bill provides feasible ways for this goal to be achieved from a logistical stand point by allowing so called “paraprofessional’s” to teach classes to these students. These paraprofessionals would essentially take on a group of students during the school year and teach them the curriculum assigned – meanwhile the primary teacher could focus their efforts on students that are struggling. If, of course, the classroom already met these guidelines, the school would not need to pay to bring in one of these professionals.
Aye, there’s the rub. This bill has a fiscal note points out that the initial cost of this bill will be between $12.7 and $31.2 million just to get the bill off the ground. By the time the bill is fully phased in, it will cost the state between $22 and $67 million a year ,depending on various factors.
I am not saying that this means I think it is a bad bill – far from it, I am just saying our “never tax anyone, slash budgets everywhere” Republican controlled legislature probably won’t warm up to the idea. Hell, they thumb their noses at the mere thought of increasing funding for education in general, let alone when a specific policy is brought up.
Good luck Senator Morgan, I am pulling for you. If I might make one suggestion, be sure to point out that your Republican colleagues bring very little to the table, and you are eager to find solutions.
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