The Wyoming State Senate has voted to eliminate a state-mandated student-teacher ratio of no more than 16-1 for grades K-3.

The vote in favor of Senate File 134 on Thursday was 22-8. The bill now moves on to the Wyoming House of Representatives.

In the debate on the bill, Senate President Eli Bebout (R-Riverton) said, "We really don't need to have a K-3, 16 [students-per-teacher ratio] and under mandate."

Bebout said that when discussing education with school officials in his home district he was asked to get rid of the state mandate, with officials telling him they could make that kind of decision at the local level.

But Laramie Democratic Senator Chris Rothfuss of Laramie argued that there is a lot of evidence that smaller class sizes at the lower grade levels do make a difference.

In recent years numerous districts in Laramie County and elsewhere in Wyoming have had to apply for state waivers from the ratio, and supporters of the bill say the change will save money and time if it becomes law.

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