Texas looks to class-size changes to save budget
AUSTIN — A quarter-century-old law that has held most elementary school classes in Texas to no more than 22 students in on the endangered list as the Legislature looks for solutions to the state's massive budget deficit. Legislative leaders and Comptroller Susan Combs are moving to ease the requirement, arguing that it will save hundreds of millions of dollars while giving school districts more flexibility in educating their students. Teacher groups – backed by Democrats in the House and Senate – vow to fight to any change, contending it will reverse academic gains in elementary schools and force the elimination of up to 12,000 teaching jobs in Texas.
The big difference between Florida and Texas in this volatile issue is that Florida has class sizes protected in its constitution, while Texas set its rules in law. That means Lone Star State lawmakers can change the requirements without voter approval. Theirs should be an instructive debate to watch, with the results giving insight for what is likely to be yet another go-round on the issue for Floridians. Stay tuned.