In anticipation of possible teacher layoffs during the upcoming budget process, the Richmond County Board of Education today approved increasing class-size limits by three students.
For the past two years, the school board has asked the state for a two-student increase, but as this year's budget process creates more challenges it may be necessary to add more students to each classroom as teachers are taken out, according to Acting Superintendent James Whitson.
"We're in the budget process now," Whitson said. "If we have to reduce the staff even more than we are now, we're going to have to go back to the ... classrooms to do that."
With the three-student increase, student-to-teacher ratios could rise to 24-to-1 through fourth grade and 31-to-1 in middle and high school.
If budget cuts do not take as hard of a hit on teachers as anticipated, the board doesn't have to increase class sizes by three students.
Whitson called the request "purely a precautionary measure" so the district would not have to ask the state permission for a class size increase in the middle of the school year.
"The truth of the matter is we worked very diligently to reduce that budget, and we have not been able to do that to yet," Whitson said.