Class Sizes in Georgia to be Smaller

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Janaury 25, 2006
Governor Perdue wants smaller school class sizes across the state as soon as next fall. News 12 is on your side with how that will affect Richmond and Columbia County schools.

There are close to sixty thousand students in the area, and that number is rising. Some teachers say this will help kids learn. But the school systems are faced with a dilemma, and that's finding more teachers and more space for classrooms.

Several hundred new students are expected to enroll next year, and each class will have to cut the number of students down by a few. Teacher Christy Van Meter thinks this will keep more discipline in the classrooms.

"We want to have as much interaction and one on one with the students that we can," Van Meter said.

This equals a few new classes per school. But the several thousand teachers in the area won't be enough next year. Richmond County Schools Spokesman Mechelle Jordan worries bringing in more teachers could cost the system more money.

But Governor Sonny Perdue says fewer students per teacher means better relationships between teachers and students.

"Each of us can remember teachers who have inspired us and encouraged us to excel," Governor Perdue said.

Another concern is where the new classes will be held. Smaller classes can mean more classes, and more classes can mean more portables.

Columbia County Superintendent Tommy Price says right now there aren't plans for new buildings by next year.

"There’s no question we're gonna have to purchase more portables to accommodate this," Price said.

"I think you need much bigger schools to make that work. You can't just way shrink the class and keep the schools the way they are now," Van Meter said.

But Van Meter thinks giving students more personal attention will be worth it in the end.

Here's the breakdown of what class sizes will be. In Kindergarten, classes will have 18 students, and that's down from 20. For grades 1 through 3, parents and teachers can expect no more than 21 students per class instead of 23. And in Grades 4 through 8, class sizes will be reduced by four with a new maximum of 28.