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Class Size Amendment Opponents Are Three Votes From Another Ballot

By: Mike Vasilinda
By: Mike Vasilinda

A month before voters approved the class size amendment Jeb Bush was caught on tape behind closed doors planning its repeal.

Gov. Jeb Bush in October 2002 said, “I’ve got a couple of devious plans if this thing passes.”

After almost four years of no successes, a new plan is being hatched at the Capitol. It would cap class sizes at the county level, not at individual schools.

The inducement for voters is that districts would be required to spend 65 cents of every dollar in the classroom. A repeal effort passed the House last year, but it failed in the Senate. This latest plan has 21 co-sponsors in the state Senate, just three short of what’s needed to send it back to the ballot.

The latest plan has the ears, but not the full support of the district school superintendents. They like more flexibility in class sizes, but they don’t want to be told how to spend local money.

Dr. David Mosrie with the Florida Association of District School Superintendents says, “You put money where the need exists, and I think school boards and superintendents are better prepared to do that than the state Constitution is."

The people behind the amendment say it’s too early to know if the other three votes can be found, but they expect a spirited fight.

Damien Filer, a class size organizer, says, “You can’t trick people into taking funding away for their schools when they go to the schools every day and see the situation there.”

Voters in 17 counties that voted for Bush also voted for the class size amendment.

The bill to gut the class size amendment is sponsored by Ken Pruitt of Port St. Lucie, who is due to take over as president of the Florida Senate in November.


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