House continues push for class size fix
The House, led by Central Florida Republican David Simmons, continued its push to revise the class size amendment by giving schools and districts more flexibility in how they calculate classroom populations. But the fate of the effort is unclear because the Senate so far hasn't made the issue a priority.
The House committee on 21st century competitiveness this morning approved the draft of a bill that would allow schools starting in the fall to use the schoolwide average class size to comply with the constitutional requirements - and to exceed that size limit by 4 students next year and by two students in 2009-10.
Not until October 2010 will schools have to comply with the size requirements on a classroom-by-classroom basis. Schools that do not comply would face some financial penalties.
The bipartisan committee lauded Simmons' work on the measure, which came about with input from school leaders.
"It''s a model of diplomacy and negotiation," said Tampa Rep. Trey Traviesa. Committee members said they like the proposal so much, they don't think the tax and budget reform commission's simultaneous efforts at tweaking the class size amendment are necessary.
"This should be the end of it," said Democratic Rep. Joe Gibbons. "We've found a way to do this that is acceptable to everyone."