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Sunday, August 8, 2010 - 4:45pm

Students Return to Larger Class Sizes and Cut Programs

Many school systems throughout the state are starting the new school year this week. Some students are returning to larger classes, fewer programs and a shortened school year.

Since the start of the recession the state has cut school spending by more than 15 percent. That coupled with lower property tax intake has made schools adjust their budgets.

"I'm not aware of any system in the state that hasn't cut days. Either student days or teacher days or some combination," says Herb Garrett who heads the Georgia Schools Superintendent Association.

Garrett says many districts will be eliminating teacher work days which means teachers are furloughed. Others have gotten creative with their calendars by lengthening the school day and shortening the week or school year to save on building costs.

He says increasing class sizes has enabled schools to delay hiring teachers. And some poorer districts have had to eliminate art and orchestra programs.

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