House Bill 13: Elementary Schools Prepare for Classroom Expansion
Public schools in North Carolina are facing tough choices to meet the new mandated House Bill 13 that was passed in the spring of this year. Essentially, this bill decreases the teacher-to-student ratio in elementary school classrooms. This means that many schools will likely have to expand their classroom facilities, as well as hire more teachers to accommodate these changes.
The House Bill 13 or, “HB13” will affect only public elementary schools, as state lawmakers lowered class sizes for grades Kindergarten to third grade. The reason behind lowering class sizes is so that children are able to receive more instruction, attention, and opportunities. According to Smoky Mountain News, Sen. Jim Davis said that, “Research shows lower class sizes enhance student performance.” However, there has been controversy over this new bill.
Many parents and teachers were concerned about the overall education their students would receive, because certain classes such as art, PE, and music were potentially on the chopping block in order to make available more classroom space. But according to The News & Observer, as an alternative solution, several schools are introducing “art on a cart” in which music and art teachers will bring their supplies to classrooms.
These changes will be prevalent in 2018 as average class sizes begin to drop as much as 4 students for some grades. “Wake County will have to create space for the equivalent of 559 classrooms and 9,500 students. Meanwhile, 2,500 additional students in kindergarten through third grade are expected by 2021 in Wake.”- The News & Observer
Legislators indicate this is not an unfunded mandate, and that schools will continue to receive funding annually to accommodate these classroom-size changes. However Chris Baldwin, superintendent of Macon County Schools, has said his elementary schools are already at capacity and smaller class sizes will put additional strain on their facilities. This bill comes into effect in the fall of 2018, which gives little time for schools to prepare. They will have to have hire enough teachers to meet the new requirements. With more teachers, come more classrooms. And with more classrooms, creates the need for facility expansion, which is not funded by HB13.
A solution for this dilemma is temporary modular classrooms, because they are available in a quick time-frame and are affordable for schools. Since school districts are worried about their budget for the next year, they would have the flexibility of leasing modular classroom buildings and paying monthly, rather than the up-front capital costs of traditional construction methods. Temporary classroom buildings can be delivered and setup in a short time-frame, and can easily be ready for the 2018-19 school year but planning has to start now.
It is crunch time for elementary schools in North Carolina to begin planning facility expansions. If your school is being affected by House Bill 13 and you need information on modular buildings, contact us today at our Knightdale or Lowell office. We can provide you with all the information you need for planning your modular building expansion needs: 877.438.8627