Florida House might ease penalties for missing class-size rules, top staffer says
Dudley Goodlette, chief of staff to Florida House speaker Larry Cretul, recently spoke at length with the Naples Daily News about the upcoming legislative session. The class-size amendment, and how to implement it within the state's limited resources, played prominently in the talk.
While Goodlette, a former lawmaker known for his consensus-building as well as his caginess, didn't give away too many details, he offered some hints on where the debate might lead. Here's an excerpt of his interview with Jeff Lytle:
Lytle: Will some of that discussion focus on — if not the details of what the amendment requires — the punishment for not meeting the letter of the law?
Goodlette: I think maybe yes. There may be some flexibility in that regard as well, something that the Legislature can do, separate and apart from a further amendment to the Constitution to relax some of the constraints.
Lytle: Because we’re told that the punishment, as of now — as part of the overall package — the fines, if you will, are significant.
Goodlette: They are indeed.
Lytle: And if those fines were reduced, then that might be a way to at least give school districts some breathing room.
Goodlette: Right, and of course the desire of the Legislature in whatever it chooses to do, I would assume is to comply certainly with the spirit of that initiative, if not the letter of that constitutional mandate.
Because in the lower grades, pre-K through three or four, smaller classroom sizes have proven to be a worthy endeavor. As you get on up into the middle school and high school, some of those classroom-size mandates — or at least the data that has been accumulated — are less effective.