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Class Size Freeze

February 2nd, 2010 by flanews

State lawmakers are asking voters to rethink their 2002 decision to implement strict class size requirements on schools. Right now schools are meeting the requirements based on the average size of their classes. But in August each class will have to meet the requirements individually. As Whitney Ray tells us, school administrators say they dont have the money.

As the deadline to meet class size requirements approaches, lawmakers are looking for an out.

If we dont 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. 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; Im going to start saving money for the fines, said Hanna.

Teachers unions are against halting the last phase of class size.

Its always been about how we allocate money for education. I think the voters say they want more, but I the legislature is saying well do it in this way but we wont 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 wont 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.

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