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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Crist wants voters to take another look at class-size amendment



Gov. Charlie Crist said today he wants lawmakers to put another constitutional amendment on the ballot that would make the class-size amendment "more affordable."

The proposal, if both lawmakers and voters approve, would essentially freeze the 2002 class-size amendment where it is now - with caps calculated as a school-wide average. Superintendents and others say going to the next phase - with caps in every classroom - would cost too much and create problems with student enrollment and transfers. The state says it has already spent $15.8 billion making classes smaller.

"Now we need a more affordable approach, recognizing our economic times and the needs of the day. One that doesn't over burden taxpayers. Or force students to change schools," Crist said at Bay Vista Fundamental Elementary School in St. Petersburg. "I'm calling for legislation that allows us to calculate the class size at the school level. This will allow the average class size for schools to remain the same as they are today, with no individual classes exceeding more than three students in K through third grade, or more than five students in grades fourth through twelfth.”

The legislation is apparently already in the works.

In the past, Crist has opposed tinkering with the amendment, which won approval despite strong opposition from then Gov. Jeb Bush. Asked by the Gradebook if he was changing positions, Crist said, "I think we're trying to be able to live within our means."

But what about the will of the people? "It's only if they pass it," he said.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:48am]


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