With only one dissenting vote, members of the Senate Education Committee voted to send SB 1326 to the floor with a “do pass” recommendation. The bill, written by IEA and sponsored by retired teacher and IEA member Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking (D-Boise) requires the State Department of Education to collect and report actual data on class sizes. The bill requires the SDE to report pupil-teacher ratios, which are the total number of non-administrative school instructional staff who hold teaching certificates divided by the total enrollment of students. This includes specialists such as art and music teachers, literacy specialists, physical education and special education teachers, etc. The SDE must also report the total number of students who regularly appear in each instructor’s classroom.
Sen. Ward-Engelking told committee members that hearing statements like, “The average class size is 18 to 1” used to frustrate her; in her 30 year teaching career she rarely had fewer than 30 students in her classroom each year. This legislation would provide important data to know whether class sizes should be a concern for some of Idaho’s larger school districts.
The bill now moves to the full Senate.