Honoring Class Size in Florida
Since voters in 2002 chose to reduce the number of students in each public school classroom, Florida educators have warned that without extra state money, the initiative would end in a train wreck...and that could come in August.
In 2002, voters altered the state constitution to shrink public school classrooms that teachers say, were overcrowded. Capping class sizes at 18 students for kindergarten through third grade, 22 in fourth through eighth grade, and 25 in high school.
"What we have been doing, what all districts have been doing is gradually phasing it in, and that's what the law allows us to do, gradually phase in class size" said Jackie Johnson, spokeswoman for Alachua County Public Schools.
The final phase of the law kicks in this August, when every class must meet the strict cap, and many school districts are in a tough spot.
"On the one hand, implementing class size is going to be a real struggle for school districts. If the Legislature had fully funded it and if they were not making penalties for it so high."
State Legislators proposed an amenment for the november 2010 ballot, that would loosen class size limits. Many educators fear the change will decrease already low state funding.
"If the funding came with it, i like the idea of wiggle room, i don't like the idea of losing funding. Florida already has so little" said James Whitlock, a teacher at Kanapha Middle School.
Even if voters choose to change the class size laws, that vote won't take place until after the school year starts, and the strict cap takes effect.
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