NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Sen. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) has dialed back his bill to repeal state K-12 class size limits, but the senator says the goal remains the same: to give local school districts more control and flexibility.

After Lundberg amended the legislation last week, the Senate passed the modified version of the bill on Monday.

The original bill would have eliminated state-mandated maximum class sizes and maximum class size averages. It would have authorized local school districts to establish their own maximum class sizes with guidance from the state Board of Education.

During a Senate Education Committee hearing on Wednesday, Lundberg introduced an amendment that would keep the maximum class sizes but remove the maximum class size averages.

“Most states have an average class size or a maximum class size. Tennessee is one of the few that has both,” Lundberg said last week.

Current law prohibits school systems from having student-teacher ratios that exceed maximum class size averages set by the state. The amended bill would allow ratios up to the maximum class size instead, eliminating the average size requirement.

The result would mean, for instance, that in grades 4-6, a school system could have an average of up to 30 students per class, and also no more than 30 students per class. Currently, while multiple classes could hold up to 30 students, others in the same system would have to have less than 25 to keep the average at 25 or below.

Grade LevelMax. AverageMax. Class Size
Career & Tech Education2025
Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-1-104

“This is an attempt to provide, frankly, more local control to districts by proving them with a little bit of flexibility while still keeping in guardrails to protect class sizes,” Lundberg said.

The amended legislation would also allow school districts to ask the state Department of Education for a waiver to exceed the maximum class size, but Lundberg said this would be “on a very limited, case-by-case basis.”

If the state doesn’t respond to the request within five business days, the waiver would be automatically approved. Lundberg said school officials have told him it can take weeks for the Department of Education to respond to a waiver request.

On Monday, the Senate passed the amended bill 27–6 with Republican Sen. Dawn White joining Democrats in voting against it.

The House version of the bill is on the K–12 Subcommittee’s calendar for Tuesday.

If passed and signed into law, the bill would take effect July 1 and apply beginning with the 2023–24 school year.