State figures show that there was a more than threefold increase in just one year in the number of elementary schools allowed to exceed class-size limits in Texas.
The Dallas Morning News reported Friday that the increase is one of the most visible signs of big education funding cuts passed by the Legislature to balance the state's budget.
Figured obtained by the newspaper show that state officials allowed cash-strapped public school districts to exceed the 22-student limit in nearly 7,000 classrooms from kindergarten through fourth grade.
Most districts cited financial hardship, a new category of exemption that was approved along with the funding cuts. Districts say larger classes help save money.
A teachers' group says the surge in exemptions "represents a serious erosion of educational quality standards."
More: Dallas Morning News