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Sen. Chad Barefoot to talk class size crisis on “Education Matters” this weekend

Sen. Chad Barefoot, R-Franklin, Wake

A bit of news for those following North Carolina’s class size drama: One of the state Senate’s top budget negotiators is expected to perhaps shed some light this weekend on when or if lawmakers will propose some resolution.

The Public School Forum of N.C., a nonpartisan research and policy group in Raleigh, says their “Education Matters” program on WRAL will feature Sen. Chad Barefoot, the Wake County Republican who co-chairs the Senate’s education committee.

The Forum says they intend to ask Barefoot about the funding turmoil. House leaders have been noticeably more eager to adopt some relief for school systems than Senate legislators thus far.

As you may recall, Barefoot was one of the major players involved in last year’s temporary class size resolution, a crisis with the potential to cost local districts thousands of jobs for arts, music and P.E. teachers.

Policy Watch reported this week that at least one key Republican assured constituents in recent days that he expects the Senate to act in March. Meanwhile, a top House budget writer has also promised relief is coming. 

The trouble began in 2016 when GOP legislators ordered school districts to cut class sizes in the lower grades. But districts warned of myriad complications should the order go into effect at the beginning of the 2018-2019 fiscal year with no additional funding or flexibility from the state.

With school districts already prepping plans for next year’s budget, the timing of the legislature’s action, or inaction, will be key.

Depending on your location, “Education Matters” can be viewed this weekend on WRAL, Fox 50 or UNC-TV’s North Carolina Channel.

Keep following for more updates.

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