As educators, we all know how important class size is to successful teaching and learning. In these pandemic years, the ability of teachers and paraprofessionals to focus on individual students in need of attention and support has become even more crucial.

The Joint Class Size Assessment Council (JCSAC) has worked hard to meet these needs in schools throughout the city, from kindergarten through grade 12. For more details about the JCSAC and the class-size remedies it can pursue, check out the Class Size page on the CTU’s website.

This year, since we met on an almost weekly basis, we’ve been able to jump in and secure additional teachers and TAs at a number of schools that have had major influxes of migrant students.

As of mid-May, the JCSAC has provided a total of 354 class-size positions. Of these, 210 are teacher positions, and the remaining 144 are teacher assistants. These are at more than 190 district schools throughout the city. We have also authorized overtime classes at the high-school level to help alleviate overcrowded classes, and some schools have received extended-day buckets providing additional paid preparation time before or after school for teachers with student overloads.

In total, more than 200 schools have received some class size relief.

These are some solid accomplishments, now here’s how you can help make next year even better:

  • Make sure you know the class-size limits for the subjects and grades you teach.

Class-Size Limits

Download Class Size Limits Table (PDF)

Grade LevelClass Size LimitsOversized
Must refer to Class Size Council (by Delegate, LSC, Teacher, etc.)
Automatic Trigger for
Class Size Investigation
Art3132-35 Elementary
32-37 High School
35+ Elementary
37+ High School**
Music3435-37 Elementary
35-40 High School
38+ Elementary
41+ High School**
PE4041-43 Elementary
41-46 High School
44+ Elementary
47+ High School**
Shop/Lab, Drafting# of Available Workstations (AWS)# of AWS +3 Elementary
# of AWS +6 High School
# of AWS +4 or More Elementary
# of AWS +7 or More High School**

* Bilingual classes are capped at no more than 90% of these limits
** Or where teacher load is oversized by 14

  • Hold a PPC meeting with your principal before the school year ends and put class size on the agenda. Ask for anticipated enrollment numbers by/grade class/subject, and if any are approaching the limits as described in the table above, make sure to follow up in August when actual enrollment becomes available. Some oversized situations occur when principals pull classroom teachers for non-teaching (quasi-administrative) assignments, resulting in larger classes for those who remain in the classroom. This is a topic that your PPC can and should discuss.
  • If you are the delegate or on the PPC, make sure to bring up class size and check in with teachers at your first Union meeting in August so that you’re aware of any potential issues to monitor.
  • Send in class-size referrals using this form as soon as you find out about oversized classes.
  • If you have questions or special circumstances you want the JCSAC to consider, please reach out to or call Debby Pope at 312-329-6291.
  • Brainstorm with your staff, and send in any suggestions or proposals you’d like to have considered for the upcoming contract. The 2023-24 school year is the last year of our current agreement. We will be negotiating from a much stronger position with our restored bargaining rights and a Mayor who understands teaching and learning!

Save the Date: On Tuesday, August 22, at 4:30, we will hold a virtual event so you can get advice and bring your questions and concerns about how to get help for your oversized classes.

For questions about class-size relief, please email retiree Debby Pope, who is a CTU member of JCSAC.