Class size tweaks get support from education groups
Attorney Ron Meyer, representing the Florida School Boards Association and Florida Education Association, said any push for a new constitutional amendment on class size should be accompanied by a push for a statutory fix.
Meyer said voter sentiment in favor of smaller classes might make it difficult to get 60 percent support, as required, for passage of a new constitutional amendment. Lawmakers are likely to consider this session a proposed amendment that would freeze class counts at the school level, rather than have compliance be measured at the class-by-class level.
"I think it's going to take a lot of money to change the class size amendment because of the popularity," Meyer said. "So I think you should have a plan B if the constitutional amendment doesn't pass."
Meyer said former Orlando Rep. David Simmons' proposal a couple of years ago to have counts done just once in the fall was a good statutory fix that had support in the House yet never got traction in the Senate. Groups like the FEA and School Boards Association are poised to push for a repeat of that proposal, which seemed to get good reception in the Senate's PreK-12 budget committee this morning.
"It would make sense to have that running as a parallel course to any attempt at a constitutional fix," Meyer said. "I don't think anyone disagrees with the notion that there should be flexibility in how schools reduce their class sizes."