Class Size Count Begins

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL - There were three empty seats in Sylvia Crews’ 3rd period math class Monday morning. Since the final phase of class size took hold this August, it’s been easier to keep track of attendance. The strict rule of no more than 25 students per high school classroom means there’s no need for more than 25 chairs.

“It makes it a lot easier that there are only 25 people in the room. You can get a lot of business taken care of very quickly. We are able to get more independent and individual help,” said Crews.

This week Florida’s 67 school districts will take final counts in every Florida classroom and turn the information over to the Department of Education. DOE will then use the data to see which schools are in violation of the class size amendment.

But with the state’s overall education budget down 350 million dollars, some schools are cutting corners to fall under the class size cap. In Washington County teachers are being asked to skip their planning periods. In Palm Beach a plan to bus students between school zones in being hatched.

Leon High School Principal Rocky Hanna found money to hire extra teachers and is using online classes to makes sure he meets the count.

“I don’t have one single core class over 25 and I’m very proud of that fact. It was just hard work,” said Hanna.

Supporters of a constitutional amendment to loosen the class size restrictions say a yes vote will help schools meet standards. Opponents say if education was properly funded, schools would never be in this mess.

If amendment 8 passes, fewer schools may be charged penalties based on this week’s count. Right now each class is counted individually, but 8 would allow districts to use school wide class averages to meet the standards

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