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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida's class size debate: It's not over



So you're thinking, Florida voters have spoken not once, but twice, on the issue of school class sizes.

They want them small, counted at the classroom level and not averaged out. Case closed. Right?

Well, not really.

Pasco County schools superintendent Heather Fiorentino told her School Board during Tuesday's budget public hearing that the district might not be able to meet the requirements because of budget concerns, and fines could be coming.

Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho told the State Board of Education that his district willingly chose not to meet the requirement in several instances because it was "not always in the best interest of students." He urged the board during its Tuesday budget workshop to press lawmakers for full funding of class size rules, and also for limits on the penalties for noncompliance.

Board member Gary Chartrand asked him, "Should we ask voters again about class size?"

Carvalho didn't directly answer, though he did say he'd rather pay for effective teachers than numerous teachers. The board then began talking about the idea.

"The voters have spoken, whether we like it or not," said board vice chairman Roberto Martinez, who added that he would back efforts to scale back the amendment.

"I think the voters spoke in another time and place than where we are now," said board member John Padget, a retired Monroe schools superintendent. "As time passes we may find the voters being a lot more friendly than they were. … I would like to bring it back."

Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 3:13pm]


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