Should Florida change its class-size rules? Lawmakers want to hear your thoughts
The Florida Department of Education is busy running the numbers to see how many teachers school districts might need to hire next fall when the class size amendment moves to classroom counts.
Districts are making noises about how difficult it will be to meet the stricter rules next fall. Newspapers are publishing stories highlighting those concerns.
In that atmosphere, Florida lawmakers are again talking about how they should deal with the amendment, especially in light of budget estimates projecting continued multibillion-dollar deficits.
The Florida House seems poised to pass yet another measure aimed at keeping the class-size reduction rules as a school average. "We're going to do exactly what we did last time," said Rep. Will Weatherford, chairman of the House Education Policy Council.
But will the Senate follow?
Sen. Don Gaetz, chairman of the Policy and Steering Committee on Social Responsibility, tells the Gradebook that many senators are worried about the financial implications of full implementation. But they also understand that lawmakers can't overrule the will of the people.
So Gaetz wants to hear from the people.
"The polling that I saw last year suggested that it was absolutely imperative that there be a united front of school board members, administrators, teachers and parents in order to get 60 percent for a constitutional modification," said Gaetz, who backs scaling back the amendment. "If they don't step forward, then based on the polling data that I've seen, there's very little chance that a constitutional amendment would be successful at the polls. Why go through an exercise in futility?"