Big Spring ISD Asks State for Waiver to Fix Teacher-Student Ratio

By Sylvia Gonzalez
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING - The Big Spring School District is dealing with a boom of students. So many they're having to break the state's rule on the number of students to teachers. Now, they've asked the State for a waiver until they can find a way to fix the problem.

This is the first time in 10 years in which the Big Spring Independent School District has exceeded 4,000 students enrolled in their schools. One downside to this is grades kindergarten thru fourth have exceeded the teacher student ratio allowed by the state of Texas, which is 22 students for every one teacher. So now the schools have asked the state for a waiver to allow the overcrowded classroom sizes.

"The school board approved a waiver so now we will submit that waiver to the Texas Education Agency. What it does is it allows us to have more than 22 students to one teacher, in grades kindergarten thru fourth," Big Spring I.S.D. Superintendent, Steven Saldivar, said.

Although there is no student teacher ratio for grades fifth thru twelfth, they try to maintain a balance.

"Fifth grade and up, there's no teacher student ratio. But because there is no teacher student ratio, it doesn't mean that we try to go as high as possible, we still try to keep those classes as small as possible," Saldivar said.

Saldivar says although the elementaries are over the allowed student teacher ratio, they don't exceed it by much.

"We're probably looking at 24 to 25 students, we are not that much above the 22 to 1. At 4th grade, it's probably is 25 or 26, I think the biggest classes are 26," Saldivar said.

Saldivar says one way to fix the problem is to hire more teachers, unfortunately no teachers have applied for the grades that they are needed for.

"Realistically we don't have any applicants. If we had applicants that were looking for positions kindergarten thru fourth grade, we would hire. We would want to have class sizes smaller but probably it wont happen till next semester," Saldivar said.