Gov. Cooper visits Plymouth, talks classroom size requirements

PLYMOUTH, N.C. (WNCT) — Gov. Roy Cooper toured Pines Elementary in Plymouth Tuesday, where he discussed concerns regarding the classroom size bill and addressed challenges faced by rural communities.

“I grew up in eastern North Carolina, the rural part of our state, and I know the challenges that this area faces,” Cooper said.

He said access to resources and high-speed internet are important to build a more skilled workforce from the ground up.

“It starts in our schools,” Cooper said. “We have to make sure the public schools have the resources they need to do their job. We need to demand a lot of them because kids need to be smarter than ever now. Many of the jobs these kids will have don’t even exist yet.”

Cooper met with several teachers, including fourth-grade teacher Amy Gurganus, to hear their concerns.

Gurganus said there is worry over having enough personnel to cover the needs of students and being able to keep class sizes at a level where students can be helped.

“In order to meet those needs we are going to need the personnel and funding and resources, and we do not have that,” Gurganus said.

The governor said he heads from schools across the state about small classes for kindergarten through third grade. H

“There is a great deal of frustration,” said Cooper. “They are having to do greater class size in (grades) four through eight. They’re having to pull teachers from pre-K; they are having to find more classroom space that they do not have.”

He said the legislature needs to fix the problem soon.

“We need to respect our public schools and our teachers,” Cooper said.

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