Gradebook

Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Class size changes on the way

18

April

Before the House went into meltdown mode over an FCAT bill this morning, members unanimously approved a bill that would modify the way the state implements the 2002 class-size amendment.

4207 Crafted by Rep. David Simmons, who has tried for years to scale back the voter mandate's financial effect, the measure also has won support from several education organizations including the Florida Education Association, the Florida School Boards Association and the state PTA.

If ultimately adopted by the Senate and signed by the governor, the bill would retain the class-size counts as required by the amendment. But it would offer flexibility to schools, so they would not have to realign classes every time a newly enrolled student pushes a classroom over the cap (18 in kindergarten through grade 3, 22 in grades 4-8, and 25 in high schools).

Schools would conduct annual counts each fall, at which time they would have to meet the mandate. Afterward, they would be allowed to have up to two more students above the cap without having to reorganize students into new classes.

Some key senators have signaled they don't necessarily agree with the House's aggressive effort to tone down the class-size amendment without voter approval, though. So as a backup, both the House and Senate already have unanimously approved a separate bill that simply would put off the class-by-class counts, originally scheduled to begin in the fall, until 2009-10.

That legislation would allow classes to exceed the cap by up to two students for one year only.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:39am]

    

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