North Carolina school districts are facing a funding crisis. In Orange County, voters approved a $120 million bond in November 2016 to renovate several school buildings, but additional funding for teachers and new classrooms will be needed to comply with a proposed reduction in class sizes for kindergarten through third grade.
The legislation requires kindergarten through third grade classrooms to have 18 or fewer students by the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools has a waiver to be out of compliance with the legislation until the following school year.
The cap is designed to address growing class sizes, provide a better learning environment and to improve test scores, Tom Carr, Orange County School Board member, said. However, many school districts are struggling to implement it in time.
The Orange County School Board passed a resolution in April of 2017 to express their concerns citing that the school district would need more funding to avoid increasing class sizes in upper grades or cutting special education programs such as arts or physical education.
“One of the problems is growth, but with all the schools, buildings aren’t growing," Carr said. "There aren't more classrooms. If they want us to lower the class sizes like they’re capping it at, we may need more teachers, but we also need more rooms, that’s the big dilemma."