Coping with class size
Ever since it won voter approval in 2002, the Florida class-size amendment has withstood several legislative efforts to scale it back. Often, the Senate refused to go along with proposals from the House or from former governor Jeb Bush, who said the cost of fully implementing the mandate at the classroom level could block out the sun.
Now the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission is looking to go where the Legislature hasn't been able to get. A proposal submitted today would ask voters to reconsider the amendment, giving schools more flexibility to implement the limits of 18 students per class in kindergarten through third grade, 22 students in fourth through eighth grade and 25 students in high school.
Instead, the idea is to have each school average those class size limits, with no single classroom allowed to exceed the limit by more than five children, the Associated Press reports.
"The numbers that were put in there (the amendment) are not based on any science," said Commissioner Randy Miller, executive director of the Florida Retail Commission. "It does tie the hands of the school board. This is a reasonable provision. It would give them a little bit of wiggle room."
Though district level officials have called for such changes, parents and teachers have become increasingly happy with the class size reduction rule, making passage of such an amendment questionable. The Florida Education Association has been working with lawmakers to make the requirements more flexible without going back to voters.
To view the proposal, which came from the commission's Governmental Services committee, click here.