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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

No quick fixes coming for Florida's school class-size rules



As changes to the Florida class size amendment head to the Senate floor, the buzz back in local school districts is all about what happens in the meantime.

For even as the state bemoans an expected decrease in funding, lawmakers are telling districts they better meet the final stage of the amendment — meaning classroom counts — by October, regardless of cost. Some senators even are talking about imposing penalties, just for good measure.

Proposals to push back the count to February, after voters would have a chance to decide whether to alter the amendment, are falling flat.

"The constitution is so clear," said Rep. Will Weatherford, who's sponsoring the bill on the House side. "The only way to solve this" is to amend the amendment.

The only thing is, if schools have to meet the amendment in October, the money is already spent, teachers hired, attendance zones redrawn — you get the picture. District leaders say they can't afford it.

Now, cynics among us will say that this is all part of the campaign to scare voters into backing change. See how bad it will get if we don't, right? But on the other hand, if the districts make it happen before the vote, what's the impetus to amend again? 

Any chance we'll see a sensible, rather than political, outcome to this debate?

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:52am]


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