ECISD Sending Increase in Ratio Waivers to State

By: Alexa Williams

NewsWest 9

ODESSA- Enrollment numbers at ECISD continue to grow and now the district is requesting waivers from the state in order to comply with teacher to student ratios. The district says that this is the highest amount of waivers requested in years.

"In the state of Texas for classrooms that are kindergarten through fourth grade the state mandates that you keep at ratio of 22 students to one teacher" said Mike Adkins, ECISD Public Information Director.

But with record breaking enrollment and numbers still increasing ECISD is not able to comply with the state mandated ratio.

"Once you get past 22 students, you're not allowed to do that, but the state understands that it maybe 23 to 1 but you're required to write that down and ask the state if that's ok"

This year the district is requesting waivers for 160 different classrooms at 18 different schools, potentially the highest numbers they've seen in years but ECISD said they are doing everything they can to adjust.

"We bought new portables and put those in place and still we don't have enough classroom space, still the kids are here and the space is not and so we have to adjust and take care of them" said Adkins.

The district has even brought in full time teacher aids to assist in the bigger classrooms.

"We have hired 26 teacher aids since the beginning of the year to use in the really high, highly populated grade levels and classrooms and grade levels" said Adkins.

But there is some relief on the way.

"We have three new elementary schools being built in this bond election but they're not going to be completed for another two years from right now. It's part of the growing process that we're in and we're growing much more quickly that was even projected" said Adkins.

So far ECISD has closed off enrollment in nine schools.