Columbia, SC (WLTX) - State education Superintendent Mick Zais is backing a proposal that would do away with regulations that limit the number of students that can be in one class.
The proposal will go before the state board of education for approval and many in opposition say this could open the door to overcrowded classrooms.
For the past four years because of budget cuts to education, state lawmakers have made the regulations inactive.
Now education Superintendent Zais believes the regulations should be removed permanently. But teacher advocates say the student teacher ratio of 28 to 1 could grow larger, making for a more difficult environment for students to learn.
"One size doesn't fit all when it comes to education," said Mick Zais, State Education Superintendent.
Zais believes that local superintendents should have the flexibility on what staff is needed in schools versus the mandatory regulations set by the State education Department.
"In a science and math focused school you may need more math teachers, in a high poverty school you may need more reading teachers. But we should let the local education leaders figure out what's the best use."
But teacher advocates have a problem with doing away with the regulations because it does not put a cap on the number of students that can be in one classroom.
"There could be 40 to 50 kids in a classroom," said Kathy Maness, Executive Director of the Palmetto Teachers Association.
Maness was a teacher for more than 30 years before becoming the Executive Director of the Palmetto Teachers Association and opposes the plan.
"I forecast the some districts may say, I have permission now not to have certain ratios so you are going to have larger class sizes, I have permission now to not have an assistant principal in my schools, to not have a guidance counselor," said Maness.
But Zais says the regulations have been inactive for 4 years and there has been no sign of overcrowded classrooms.
He feels that this issue is being politically motivated during an upcoming election year.
"The union like lobby group that represents teachers, headquartered in Columbia, has misrepresented my position, to make it like Zais wants to put 50 kids in the classroom and that is absolute nonsense, I just want to support our local superintendents," said Zais.
Maness believes this will open the door for future trouble.
"We hope that would not happen in SC but by making this permanent it does give some districts the opportunity to do that," said Maness.
The proposal will go before the State board in two weeks.