Onslow County leaders hold joint meeting to discuss class size mandate

ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT)–Meeting the class size mandate is going to be difficult in Onslow County. Friday, a second joint meeting was held to address concerns. It was between the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Education.

But as the deadline for next year’s county budget looms, it’s putting leaders in a crunch to determine how to find 38 new classrooms and hire 51 new teachers.

“I feel like there’s room to achieve a compromise that would work well for us and the other counties across the state to move to a more manageable number, a number that would satisfy that desire to reduce class size,” Commissioner Mark Price said. Price suggested a class size of 20 students.

A committee on the mandate is meeting next week in the General Assembly. Senator Harry Brown is on that committee. He attended the joint meeting on Friday.

“It may be that we can give them a little more flexibility on the size of the classes for a short time period, maybe extend it out a year or two,” Sen. Brown (R) N.C. said.

Both the county and Board of Education sent letters to the General Assembly asking for more flexibility and time to implement the classroom sizes.

The school system grows on average by about 300 students each year. On top of that are challenges brought on by its transient military community.

Budget discussions begin in March.

The school system reiterated at the meeting that it will not be getting rid of enhancement teachers as a way to meet the mandate.

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