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Schools Use Loophole to Exceed Limit for Pre-K Classes


July 17, 2017
Jennifer Palmer
Tulsa Public Radio

Small classes are a cornerstone of pre-K, but some districts are now raising a long-held cap on the number of students, a move that could dilute Oklahoma’s most admired and arguably successful educational initiatives.

Like many other states, Oklahoma limits pre-K classes to 20 students. When there are more than 10 students, the classroom teacher is supposed to have a full-time assistant.

But a 2016 change in state law has inadvertently opened the door to larger pre-K classes.

The legislation, co-authored by Rep. Dennis Casey, waives financial penalties for school districts with accreditation deficiencies and was intended to ensure school districts received the maximum amount of state funding during tight funding times, Casey said.

Instead, the law effectively relieved schools of abiding by many regulations. Some seized the opportunity to cut costs by increasing pre-K classes.