Austin ISD considers increasing class sizes to save money

October 8, 2018

Tom Miller

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin ISD is considering increasing the student to teacher ratio next year at campuses throughout the district in an effort to reduce its multi-million dollar budget deficit.

Under the proposal, kindergarten through fourth-grade classes could grow by as many as two students, increasing to 24 per teacher.

Middle and high school classes could increase by as many as three additional students, jumping to 32 students per teacher.

If both of the maximum increases are approved, the district would save an estimated $18.8 million dollars.

The current budget shortfall for the 2018-2019 school year is more than $17 million.

By increasing class size by just two students in K-4 throughout the district, the school would eliminate 154 classrooms.

AISD School Leadership Chief Officer Michelle Cavazos insists increasing class size wouldn’t have a negative impact on students.

“What will negatively impact student achievement is having a person in front of students who doesn’t engage students in their learning,” Cavazos said. “Someone who can do those things, it doesn’t matter how many students are in their classroom, students will learn.”

A final recommendation on class size isn’t expected to be made to the AISD school board until November at the earliest.

Currently, the state limits kindergarten through fourth-grade class sizes at 22 students to one teacher.

However schools can apply for a waiver, and if approved, must notify parents in writing about how many students are in their child’s class.