House committee defeats caps on class sizes

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A bill that would have capped the class size for kindergarten through third grade was defeated Monday by lawmakers who saw the measure as an unfunded mandate on schools.

HB318, sponsored by Rep. Becky Edwards, R-Bountiful, would have set limits on class sizes beginning with 22 students per kindergarten class next school year. Schools that couldn't meet the cap would have to hire paraprofessionals or licensed teachers.

Edwards said Utah is one of 14 states without class-size caps.

But opponents noted that the bill would cost local districts between $4 million and $21 million, without the state appropriating any funds to cover the costs and constituted an unfunded mandate. The bill narrowly failed in a vote in the House education committee.