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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida school districts improve their class size compliance



New reports from the Florida Department of Education indicate that class size compliance around the state has improved, with just 11,595 of 447,206 total public school classrooms out of compliance in the October count. The district with the most students over was Marion, at 1,405, compared to a year ago when Duval had nearly 20 percent of its classes over representing close to 2,500 students.

Thirty-one charter schools and 37 "schools of choice" also did not meet the rules.

Pinellas, Hillsborough and Hernando schools all were found fully in compliance with the 2002 constitutional amendment. Pasco County missed by 1 student -- an eighth grader taking courses at a high school.

Pasco had expected to violate the rule by many more students, and had budgeted nearly $215,000 to pay the associated fines. But it was able to meet the guidelines after lawmakers changed the law last year, allowing districts to use school-wide averages rather than classroom counts in "schools of choice."

The district designated all its traditional campuses as "schools of choice," which the department has approved, putting Pasco and any other districts following that model into compliance. Department officials did not have information available on which other districts used the new law to comply with the amendment.

Districts now have until Dec. 13 to appeal the state's data. The education commissioner is to make a final class size report no later than Feb. 15.

[Last modified: Monday, December 9, 2013 10:50am]


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