The Blog

Capitol News: Assembly Education Hears Measure Protecting Class Size Reduction Program

Sets Vote for May 1

On Wednesday, April 24th, he Assembly Education Committee heard testimony about a CTA-supported bill designed to help protect the state's vital Class Size Reduction Program.

Desa Bushnell, a first-grade teacher at Sierra Oaks K-8 school for 17 years, told lawmakers that smaller class sizes are vital to helping students achieve excellence.  Bushnell testified in support of CTA-backed AB 558, by Assemblymember Ken Cooley (D-Carmichael), a measure that encourages school districts to maintain their class size reduction programs despite more than five years of devastating funding cuts.

The Cooley bill eases the financial penalties districts pay when they allow class sizes to rize above the 20:1 target in Grades K-3 and core academic subjects.

Without the Cooley bill's passage, financial penalties levied when class size exceeds that number in any room could lead districts to abandon all limits as a way of saving money. Instead, the measure would maintain at least partial fiscal incentives for districts that preserve their efforts by keeping their average class size below certain limits.

Cooley recognizes that funding cuts have made it more difficult for districts to achieve the objective of about 20 students per classroom, so the bill would reduce the maximum number of students and still receive the monetary incentive, while gradually increasing the penalty on the incentive for every student over 20.

The April 24th hearing was a designated "testimony-only" opportunity, width lawmakers expected to vote on this and other measures during the panel's May 1st hearing.

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