BACKGROUND: The State of North Carolina enacted legislation in 2017 resulting in a decrease in class size averages from 1:20 to 1:17 for kindergarten
to third grade for the 2018- 2019 school year. Due to significant statewide ramifications as a result of the reduced class size averages, the North Carolina General Assembly aaproved House Bill 90 which allows for a phasing-in process to address the decrease in class size averages over the next four years. Based on House Bill 90, average class sizes for kindergarten to third grade will be phased-in as provided below:
In January 2018, due to impacts anticipated to elementary school capacity resulting from these reductions, the Schools Adequate Public Facilities
Ordinance Technical Advisory Committee (SAPFOTAC) identified the need for the Schools Joint Action Committee (SJAC) to meet in order to discuss options and determine how to implement the school capacity changes.
Schools Joint Action Committee (SJAC) Based on the adopted SAPFO Memoranda of Understanding, school building capacity shall be determined by
reference to state guidelines and school district guidelines and by a joint action of the School Boards and Orange County Board of Commissioners. The SJAC is comprised of elected officials from the Orange County Board of Education, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education, and Orange County Board of Commissioners. Appointed members include:
January 31, 2019 Reviewed changes in class size ratios outlined in House Bills 13 and 90.
March 8, 2019
Reviewed student projections and potential impacts resulting from changes in class size ratios. Student projections reviewed at this meeting included
the 2019 SAPFOTAC 10- year projections. No capacity needs were identified in the 10-year period based on existing class size (1:20) and student membership and capacity numbers received from the schools in November 2018.
SJAC requested revised projections illustrating the impacts from the phasing-in of class size changes over the next three years.
Proposed and discussed various options to implement class size changes and requested staff to draft summary report outlining and detailing options
for further analysis.
April 10, 2019
To determine future impacts related to changes in class size ratios and assist the SJAC with making a recommendation to implement changes in class
size, school staff completed updated classroom and capacity calculations prior to the April SJAC meeting. During this process, it was discovered that updated classroom capacity numbers provided from school staff were not consistent with November 15, 2018 school capacity numbers submitted in order to draft 10-year student projection sheets and the 2019 SAPFOTAC Annual Report. School capacity numbers provided were higher than those received in November 2018. One reason for the discrepancy may be due to classrooms being utilized for Pre-K not being counted in the total elementary school capacity.
Based on the existing SAPFO Memoranda of Understanding, capacity (classrooms) being utilized for Pre-K must be included in the total elementary
school capacity number collected every November for the drafting of the annual SAPFOTAC Report. Adopted MOUs do not allow for Pre-K student membership to be included in the total elementary student membership numbers collected every November. Jointly agreed to School Construction standards from 1996 and 2007 included the square footage of these spaces as if used by K 5 grade levels. School Construction standards include classroom and capacity standards for grades K 5, flex classroom space, and Special/Exceptional/Speech Language classes.
Additional 10-year projections were drafted utilizing the April 2019 numbers, but excluding Pre-K classroom capacity to determine impacts from class
size changes. When Pre-K classroom capacities are excluded, the impacts from reductions in class size is worsened at the elementary school level. These projections showed the following school capacity needs in the 10-year projection period:
2 At-Large 09/04/2022 This position has been vacant since 8/17/2017.
5 At-Large 10/31/2022 This position has been vacant since 8/20/2019.
7 At-Large 10/31/2022 This position has been vacant since 6/26/2019.
10 At-Large 10/31/2019 This position has been vacant since 12/2/2019.
(NOTE: As of July 1, 2017, a new bill was passed in the North Carolina Legislature regarding the training period for pending members of the Adult
Care Home Community Advisory Committee and Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee . The bill is HB248 (see attachment) which reverses the appointment of the applicant to a one year training term. Applicants will be selected from the County Applicant Interest List for a more condensed training and if the applicant successfully completes the training, they would be recommended for appointment. Therefore, when an applicant is recommended for appointment, it would initially be for a one year preliminary term and the training will have already been completed.)