State senator looking to reduce classroom sizes

Posted at: 01/16/2013 10:13 PM
Updated at: 01/16/2013 10:23 PM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A New Mexico senator is fighting for smaller class sizes in New Mexico public schools. Senator Tim Keller has a resolution to reduce class sizes by 10 to 12 over five years beginning in 2015-2016.

He said the resolution, if approved by the legislature and voted on by the public in 2014, would add $60 million to state public education over the five years.

Governor Susana Martinez gave her State of the State address Tuesday and stated public education would be a major priority of her administration.

The APS Union president agreed.

"Teachers would like to see them put that priority, as far as where funding goes, into class size reductions," Ellen Bernstein said.

Class sizes in Albuquerque range from 20 to over 35, Bernstein said.

"Their classes are overcrowded and in some classes they don't have enough places for them to sit, but also they know there's limited money," she said.

A former APS teacher of 29 years agreed with Bernstein on class sizes.

"Always one of my disappointments at the end of the year is I would know there were some kids that I never actually got to know or make a real connection with," Havens Levitt said.

The most important years for a student are in elementary school, Levitt said. She said class sizes must be small for students at that time in their lives.

"Because I think if an elementary kid comes out of elementary school prepared to learn, then all the way up the chain things would be easier," she said.

Sen. Keller said his measure has to make it through several senate committees before it can be approved, then it goes to the state representatives for their approval. If that works, the measure would be voted on by the public in November 2014.