Failing to Reduce Class Size

Our top story deals with the class size amendment. Since it was passed by voters in the 2002 November election, controversy and confusion have surrounded the law.

State officials say several school districts have failed to reduce their average class size this fall. The classrooms in Leon County are in compliance and plans are in place to keep the momentum of amendment nine moving ahead in the capitol city.

By 53 to 47 percent, Florida voters spoke out. They want smaller class sizes. Since then, school districts have been working to put the measure in place by reducing the class size
to two students per year.

However, for grades pre-k to 3rd, 23 school districts across the state fell short of the mark. Leon County used the $5.5 million given by the state to lower class sizes to hire 50 elementary teachers and 50 middle and high school teachers, but even before the amendment was passed, Leon County was already in good shape with relatively small class sizes.

Some might ask if Leon County was already ahead of the game when it comes to smaller class sizes why not use the money for teacher salaries?

"The additional $5.5 million appropriated by state for class size reduction and we added money in other areas put into salaries," says Bill Montford.

Some say state funding could be in jeopardy if schools don't comply with Amendment 9 and reduce class size. Superintendent Bill Montford says Leon County isn't in danger of loosing any funds due to the class size amendment.

They have until 2010 to bring class sizes to 18 in pre-k through 3rd, 22 in the 4thh through 8th and 25 at the high school.