Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 | 6:45 p.m.
The Clark County School District is applying for $13.5 million in state funding to lower kindergarten class sizes and purchase 105 double-wide trailers for portable classrooms.
Earlier this year, the Nevada Legislature approved additional state funding to cap kindergarten class sizes at 21 students. Lawmakers argued the lower class sizes would allow teachers to give more individualized attention to students.
Prior to this school year, kindergarten class sizes were not capped, and some kindergarten classes ballooned to more than 35 students.
Starting this school year, the School District began capping kindergarten class sizes to 21 students at schools with high numbers of English-language learners. By the start of next school year, all kindergarten classes district-wide must be capped at 21 students.
However, lower class sizes means the School District now needs more classroom space. To accommodate more kindergarten classes, the School District plans to purchase enough portables to create 210 additional classrooms at elementary schools across the valley — in time for the kindergarten class cap’s full implementation next school year.
The $13.5 million will be used to buy portables, deliver them and set them up for classroom use. The district plans to purchase and install 14 portable classrooms this school year, gradually rolling them all out to overcrowded elementary campuses across the valley.
The grant application comes on the heels of another $11 million grant application last month to hire 166 additional kindergarten teachers to staff the additional classrooms.
The School District, which is the nation’s fifth-largest, has more than 1,600 portable classrooms at the elementary school level. These classrooms, which are housed in modular trailers, were originally meant to be temporary school structures, but as the School District's enrollment continued to balloon, they have become a fact of school life in Clark County.