As the deadline to meet class size requirements approaches, lawmakers are looking for an out.
“If we don’t act now to right size the class size amendment massive rezoning, forced bussing, on going chaos and unnecessary expense will play out in schools across Florida,” said State Senator Don Gaetz.
Most schools meet the current conditions, which are based on averages.
The deadline for classes to meet the requirements individually begins in the fall.
Leon High School Principal Rocky Hanna is afraid his school will be penalized because it lacks the money to meet the mission.
“I brought my piggy bank just in case; I’m going to start saving money for the fines,” said Hanna.
Teachers unions are against halting the last phase of class size.
“It’s always been about how we allocate money for education.
I think the voters say they want more, but I the legislature is saying we’ll do it in this way but we won’t do it in this way,” said FEA Spokesman Mark Pudlow.
The legislation to stop the stricter requirements leaves the final decision to voters.
But voters won’t have a say-so until November, after the last phase of the class size restrictions have already taken place.
Which could leave cash strapped schools facing penalties that could hurt their budgets, unless lawmakers pump more money into education.
Since 2002, the state has spent 16 billion dollars shrinking class sizes. Lawmakers say implementing the final phase would cost the state another two billion.
EDUCATION COMMISSIONER DR. ERIC J. SMITH
Regarding Proposed Legislation to Modify Class Size Requirements
“Florida has done an incredible job of reducing class sizes within its schools and creating learning environments that are designed to foster success within every student. However, upcoming class size reduction requirements pose a situation that threatens to undermine this great work and derail the future success of our students. The class size legislation announced today by Representative Weatherford and Senator Gaetz is the exact type of approach Florida needs to avoid an impending logistical scenario that will create untold hardships for children, parents and teachers throughout the state. I stand in full support of this legislation and its ability to preserve all that our schools have accomplished in the past and stand to accomplish in the future.”
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