Across Fort Worth ISD, 145 classes in 60 schools have more students than legally allowed.
Without discussion, the school board on Oct. 24 approved an application to exceed the state’s maximum elementary class size. The vote was 8-0, with trustee Kevin Lynch absent.
The application was on the consent agenda, a list of items considered routine that can be approved in one motion.
The state caps the allowable size of pre-K through fourth-grade classes at 22 students. Class sizes per classroom range from 23 to 30 students.
The district’s average students-to-teacher ratio across all schools is 14 to 1.
In an online discussion, trustee Roxanne Martinez asked administrators how the district is working to add more teachers to campuses repeatedly on the waiver list.
During the 2022-23 school year, Fort Worth ISD had 127 classrooms in 44 schools exceed the state’s maximum class size.
Administrators redistribute students in September every school year to reach the cap, officials told Martinez. At that time, 151 classrooms exceeded the state max.
Additional teachers are hired for campuses if classes do not hit the 22-to-1 ratio.
“A campus administrator, however, may choose to continue with the class size over the ratio due to lack of available certified and quality candidates to fill the position,” the response stated.
Teachers with classes exceeding the state’s maximum receive additional pay, according to the district.
Taylor Duncan, president of the Daggett Elementary PTA, told trustees she was disappointed to see so many classrooms exceeding the maximum. Daggett Elementary has three affected classrooms.
“Looking at the schools, I am concerned about the equity of the schools that are hit hardest and which schools don’t even make the list at all,” Duncan said.
Schools in south and east Fort Worth ISD as well as in the North Side are most of the affected campuses.
The Texas Education Agency usually approves classroom waivers, according to Fort Worth ISD.
Editor's note: This story was updated Nov. 2, 2023, to include additional classes that were inadvertently left out. The district has 145 classes in 60 schools that exceed the state's maximum.
Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.