ATLANTA — Public school class sizes in Georgia have increased as districts struggle with funding cuts and falling tax revenue.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Saturday that about 80 percent of Georgia’s 180 school districts approved plans to surpass class size caps last year. Districts are allowed to surpass class size caps as long as they get the decision to do so approved during a public meeting.
The newspaper reported that Georgia cut $4.7 billion in school funding from its budget between 2008 and 2012, and gave districts permission to exceed class size caps to compensate for it. The caps were implemented before the recession to try improving student performance.
As funding for schools declined, the state lost about 10 percent of its educators while the student population grew by about 3 percent, according to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.
Increasing class sizes is a problem with educators trying to teach a more rigorous curriculum, said State School Superintendent John Barge.
“We have demanded so much from our teachers,” he said. “We cannot maintain this.”