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Class-size reduction gets cut from Nevada education bill

Students helping students in Mojave HS Sports Medicine Program
Posted at 8:23 AM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-25 11:23:55-04

CARSON CITY (AP) — A leading Nevada lawmaker on Wednesday cited funding concerns while addressing why Democrats stripped key parts of a bill that aimed to reduce class size.

Majority Floor Leader Teresa Benitez-Thompson told reporters Wednesday that the amended education bill no longer mandates reduction in class size, but regardless is still a step in the right direction on the issue by requiring more transparency from school districts. The amended bill easily passed the Assembly on Tuesday.

Democrats support providing ideal class sizes, she said, but setting specific class-size ratios would have required additional schools.

"If I could wave a magic wand and build a hundred new schools tomorrow, I would," she said. "But we've got to get the financing right for it."

The original bill brought forward by Assemblywoman Brittney Miller required reductions in class size to meet maximum student-teacher ratios established by the state.

Miller, a Democrat who vowed to continue the fight on the issue, said she was "extremely" disappointed those parts were removed from the legislation.

The education measure mandating class-size reductions also had large support from Democrats in the Assembly, with a total of 20 lawmakers signing on to back the bill.

Democratic lawmakers earlier this session identified reducing class size as one of their legislative priorities.

The amended legislation now requires each school district to post their student-teacher ratio online after the start of the school year. It also requires the state to develop "nonbinding recommendations" for the ratio of students per counselor and licensed social worker.

"I think that we're doing a lot to push the conversation forward," she said.