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Studies show smaller classes mean better grades

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Chapel Hill, TX (KYTX) -- It's a push by an economist at Northwestern University. Diane Schanzenbach testified in Austin that multiple studies find the same thing, that smaller classes mean greater success for students.

However, that's becoming harder with state budget cuts.There are 20 4th graders currently in Bill Kenney's classroom.

"With a smaller classroom size, I can work with more small groups," Kenney, a math and science teacher at Kissam Intermediate, said.

That hasn't always been the case, Kenney once had 26 kids per class. "You have to be very strong in classroom management and on your toes, because there is more going on," Kenney said.

And the hardship isn't only on the teachers, according to Schanzenbach, kids in smaller classes do better on standardized tests by an average of 6 percentile points.

But that's getting tougher as the state slashes funding. "I think there are some districts that are feeling the pinch, and they are having to load up classes a little heavier than normal," Kenney said.

"Budget-wise, it's very difficult for us to keep classroom sizes small," Kathy Harris, Principal at Kissam Intermediate, said.

She says they've had to lose some teachers due to the cutbacks. 

"We don't know if there will be more cuts, if there are more cuts I'm sure we'll have to cut positions again and then we'll have larger classrooms," Harris said.

Right now state law caps K-4th grade class sizes at 22. Chapel Hill is making it a priority to do even better than that.

Last year, 280 school districts requested waivers to exceed that limit.

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