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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tallahassee principal: 'Don't take the bait' on Amend. 8

5

October

Rocky Hanna, the principal of Leon High in Tallahassee, has made a high-profile switch on the class-size proposal, or Amendment 8. This spring, he stood with key legislators arguing that schools needed flexibility on class sizes. Today, he stood before reporters and gave a spirited argument against the amendment, arguing lawmakers have withheld funding and "misled" him into earlier supporting the proposal.

So what changed? Hanna said that lawmakers promised to give schools the $350 million required to fully implment the 2002 proposal that created smaller class sizes. When that money didn't come, he said, "the trust was then broken." He added: "It's not right, and I was misled. And I encourage Floridians, don't take the bait that I did."

Despite protestations from schools across the state, Hanna said his school was able to get class sizes down this year with "no funny business" such as co-teaching classes or moving PE coaches into classrooms. He said the district cut "every ounce of fat" to hire extra teachers and that guidance couselors felt like they were playing sudoku when moving students to new classes.

The press conference, also attended by Miami Sen. Alex Villalobos, the FEA and the NAACP, comes the day before a Supreme Court challenge to the ballot summary. Even if opponents dont succeed in getting the issue off the ballot, a recent poll shows the amendment is in big trouble.

[Last modified: Thursday, October 7, 2010 6:33pm]

    

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