Florida School Boards Challenge State Over Co-Teaching Rules

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The state Constitution says local school boards shall operate, control and supervise all free public schools in their district, but the state Board of Education, in a ruling not noticed or even listed on its June agenda, decided schools could not use team teaching to satisfy smaller class size requirements.

School Board executives think the ruling is an attempt by the governor to make it harder for them to implement the class size amendment so that voters will eventually toss the amendment out.

Wayne Blanton of the Florida School Boards Association says, "Well, I think that’s true. I think there is a concerted effort to make sure that we hurt as much as we can, and while I think the class size amendment statewide should be amended, this is the wrong approach to do that."

The schools say they pointed out the language in the Constitution and tried to negotiate with the state to no avail, so they’re going to court. Their lawsuit wants the state board rule declared unconstitutional.

Jeb Bush, returning from overseas, says bring it on. He’s not interfering with local schools, just following the constitution.

Gov. Jeb Bush says, "The problem is that the class size amendment clearly prohibits the use of co-teaching as a means of lowering class sizes."

But the class size amendment doesn’t limit the number of students per classroom, just the number of students assigned to each teacher, so now a judge will decide who is right.