Sen. Michael Lee breaks down HB13 with teachers

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Days after helping broker a compromise to ease in new class-size restrictions across North Carolina, state Sen. Michael Lee visited a school in the Cape Fear.

Friday afternoon, he not only talked with students about his job, but also with teachers about the House Bill 13.

Many teachers across the state are scared of losing classes like art, music and gym following the passing of HB13. That is why Sen. Lee helped those at Carolina Beach Elementary School understand its major goal.

“So what the law does is it increases the number of teachers per student that we have in our K-3 program,” Sen. Lee said.

Its purpose, cutting classroom sizes in hopes of providing a better student-to-teacher ratio. But rather than going into effect this fall as the state budget called for, the new law gives schools two years to work things out.

“So what this phase-in means: it gives a little more of a transition phase to kind of work toward what the original intent of the law was,” Sen. Lee said.

The intent was to keep the money the state gives to school districts inside the classroom but that was not the case. Still, some are worried about losing influential teachers.

“I still have some concerns, because it only addresses the coming year, and so then we have to worry about the year after,” Carolina Beach Elementary School Principal, Cindy Wartel said. “And we don’t want to lose any program that is of value to our children.”

In the meantime, teachers like Blair Williams are trying to stay positive.

“Overall I support the idea of lowering student-teacher ratios. I think it’s going to be very beneficial for our kids. And if we can come to a solution where our kids are not losing physical education and arts education and are also having smaller class sizes, then that would be the ultimate goal,” Williams said.

Sen. Lee hopes by the second year of this plan to have separate funding to ensure gym, art, and music teachers stay within the schools.

Categories: Local, New Hanover, News

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