POSTED: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 11:33pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 11:26am
TYLER — The standard classroom size in Texas is 22 students per teacher.
To exceed that, a school district has to get a waiver.
According to data from the Texas Education Agency, they've approved waivers for at least 8,243 classrooms during the 2011-2012 school year - a major jump from around just 2,200 the previous year.
Jamie Womack with the American Federation of Teachers tells KETK, increasing the classroom size is just not good.
"Times have changed...30 years ago, you didn't have special needs children in the classroom, you didn't have kids with as many behavior problems as you do today and so when you put more children in a classroom, it has devastating effects on everyone," Womack said.
She says parents aren't thrilled either.
"When they showed up to bring their kids to school in August and there's 24, 25 kids in this kindergarten classroom, there like 'Why are all these kids in here?' Well, you can thank your legislator for that," Womack said.
Tyler ISD is on the list. Rice Elementary where i'm standing right now is one of the schools...and like many schools across the state of Texas, they're citing "FH" as their reasoning...that stands for "Financial Hardships.
"Does anybody feel it's better to put more kids in a classroom? No. I don't know that you'd find anybody that says 'Yes, that's certainly the way to go,' but when the money isn't there and you have to stretch that budget, those are some of those tough decisions that our school board has to make and...I'm sure it's not easy," said Carol Foley, a Rice Elementary parent.
15 Tyler elementary schools were granted waivers -- other East Texas districts in this packet include Whitehouse ISD and Van ISD.
The "Save Texas Schools" coalition is having a conference in San Antonio this weekend about this very thing.
Click here for more information on that.