Head of the Class

Some Florida lawmakers left their offices Monday for a trip back to the classroom. It gave them a first hand look at what's going on in the state's public schools.

Following the release of Gov. Bush's budget proposal last week, officials with the Florida School Boards Association are hoping to make a last impression on lawmakers before the session begins this spring.

A group of seventh graders at Griffin Middle School are receiving a lesson in language arts from State Rep. Lorraine Ausley. Ausley is one of 84 lawmakers who signed up to see the triumphs and challenges within Florida's public schools. Her visit to Griffin comes just after Gov. Bush's promise to raise teacher's pay in exchange for class size reduction.

"We cannot put the two together, class size reduction versus teacher's salary...we need to find the money to do both. We're losing teachers to Georgia everyday, and we've got to do what it takes to keep the best and brightest in the state," says State Rep. Lorraine Ausley.

Gov. Bush recommends a $1 billion increase for k-12 education for the 2004-2005 fiscal year, but Griffin Middle School principal Michelle Gayle says additional funds for Griffin Middle wouldn't hurt.

"More money for instructional materials, I'd love to see a school that is totally immersed in technology, I'd love to have even more because I know with more, we can do more," says Michelle Gayle.

A total of 32 school districts from Leon County to Palm Beach participated in Monday’s event. Sen. Al Lawson made a stop at Bond Elementary and Rep. Curtis Richardson talked with students at Godby High School.