Time running out for class-size proposal
A Republican-led push to loosen the state's class-size mandate with a 2010 ballot measure is stalling to its death in the Senate, so far not making it to the floor for discussion. And this is the final day for all non-budget legislation.
The proposal, which passed the House last month, would have asked Floridians to halt class-size compliance at the current schoolwide average, while raising the maximum number of students allowed per classroom. School boards, superintendents and administrators threw their support to the measure, but the teachers union is fighting to the end. Lawmakers can approve the plan next year and still make the 2010 ballot.
"It really is frivolous in the sense that if they’re not going to tie something to it, why sit it around, you know, just go ahead and put it next year," said Senate sponsor Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville. "I mean, that’s my opinion. I just work here."
By "tie something to it," Wise is referring to his proposal to combine the class-size amendment with a permanent penny sales tax increase to benefit education funding. The combo ballot measure, which Wise suggested as a 2009 special election vote, was a non-starter with House Republican leaders and never was introduced in the Senate.