Almost every one of Clark County’s 217 public elementary schools exceeded Nevada class-size caps in the winter quarter ending Jan. 14.
Those schools on Tuesday received retroactive waivers for schools from the Nevada Board of Education. But classes are expected to continue to overflow throughout the rest of the school year, according to Clark County School District officials. The district stopped hiring teachers for the current school year in March and started hiring for 2014-15, meaning no relief will come for crowded classes before summer break, Chief Student Achievement Officer Mike Barton said.
Nevada law limits first- and second-grade classes to 16 students per teacher. But 212 Clark County elementary schools needed waivers for classes averaging 21 students in both those grades. Up to 27 students are in first-grade classrooms at Adams Elementary School, and the same number of students are being taught in second-grade classrooms at French, Kelly and Lunt elementary schools.
State lawmakers have allowed flexibility throughout the recession, granting waivers to districts with budget shortfalls. The Nevada Legislature in 2013 granted a temporary allowance permitting 18 students per teacher in first and second grades. But Clark County hasn’t been able to meet that cap and has requested waivers.
State law permits a maximum of 19 students per third-grade teacher, providing an allowance in 2013 legislation for 21 students. Waivers granted to 212 elementary schools call for an average of 23-student classes at these schools, with a high of 29 students at Helen Smith Elementary School.
As for kindergarten classes, state law sets a cap of 21 students per teacher.
In Clark County, 24 elementary schools needed permission this school year to exceed kindergarten caps.