Pasco schools face $4 million fine for class size violation
Pasco County school district officials made clear from the beginning of the budget process that they would try to meet the Florida class size amendment in October, but they wouldn't make any guarantees.
They learned shortly after the official student count that the district fell short by nearly 900 students. This week, commissioner Gerard Robinson announced the damage.
Because of its failure to meet the standard, the Pasco school district faces a financial penalty of $4 million, fourth highest of 35 districts listed as out of compliance. Only Broward, Miami-Dade and Duval face higher charges. Hernando, Hillsborough and Pinellas met the mandate, according to the list (attached below).
Robinson noted in a memo (attached below) that districts still may appeal their fines. Statute permits the commissioner to reduce the penalties for districts that made every effort to meet the class size amendment but failed. Districts also can reduce their fines by 75 percent if they submit a plan by February showing how they will comply next year and then meet that plan.
Pasco School Board members said they were disappointed that the district might have to pay for its inability to meet the 2002 amendment. But they contended that their choices were limited as they eliminated jobs because of budget shortfalls.
"We didn't do anything we felt would affect the quality of education in the core classes," board vice chairwoman Cynthia Armstrong said. Story here.