Twenty School Districts in Wyoming, including Sheridan County District 2 and Johnson County District 1 have been granted a waiver from the 16 to 1 student to teacher ratio in grades K-3 that was implemented by the State Legislature in 2011.
Dr. Rod Kessler, Superintendent of JCSD1, and the chair of the ratio waiver committee, said districts could qualify for a waiver under four different criteria.
The first is if the district had space issues. In other words, every usable space in a given school is being used but the ratio still cannot be met. Kessler said of the 20 districts that qualified, more than half qualified under this waiver.
The second and third waivers are similar, he said, in that if the district could show student or school performance higher than state standards with higher ratios, then they could qualify for these waivers. Sheridan County District 2 qualified under that category, he said.
The final category was an “other” category, he said, an example being if a district saw a substantial increase in student population that created the ratio discrepancy, but had worked to alleviate the ratio problem, then the district could qualify there.
JCSD1 could have qualified under three of the four criteria, Kessler said.
He tells us more about the committee's waiver process.
Kessler said he wasn't sure if the 16 to 1 ratio requirement would be continued by the Legislature, but as long as it is funded properly by them, he saw no issue with the requirement.