'It's not over'
Just when you thought the class-size amendment was safe from challenge, along comes the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission. Amending the amendment is topping the agenda when the group's Governmental Affairs Committee meets Friday.
The topic is listed innocuously enough as "presentations on k-12 education funding." But Wayne Blanton, the Florida School Boards Association executive director, says the discussion is all about scaling back the 2002 amendment to either district- or school-level averages with a cap, rather than moving to strict classroom counts. That's the same idea that was floated two sessions ago, just without the controversial "65 percent solution" that got lumped in with it at the time.
"We're going to be asking for consideration of the possibility of putting the class-size amendment back on the ballot," said Blanton, who will be joined by Florida Association of District School Superintendents executive director Bill Montford, former Hillsborough schools chief of staff Jim Hamilton, Palm Beach schools lobbyist Vern Crawford and Washington County superintendent Calvin Stevenson in his presentation.
They say their idea would provide more flexibility in organizing classrooms. They also want to ensure that any money saved if such a change occurs would remain with the public education system.
The commission, which can put items to voters without legislative approval, requested Friday's presentation and asked Blanton to pull it together. "That indicates to me there is some interest," Blanton said. "It's not over. I can assure you that."