Education Commissioner To Handle Class Size Appeals
PENSACOLA (CBS4) – It will be up to the state’s education commissioner and the Legislature to deal with school districts which were caught violating the newly enforced class size limits.
During a meeting in Pensacola, the state’s Board of Education decided that the commissioner would oversee the penalties and fines levied on 35 school districts which violated the state caps of 18 students for pre-kindergarten through third grade, 22 in fourth through eighth grade and 25 in high school. So far, 25 of the 35 districts found in violation have appealed.
The Broward Schools district, fined $3 million, was one of those districts that has appealed; Miami-Dade was ordered to pay $6.6 million.
The Broward school district spent approximately $70 million in hiring more teachers and adding more teachers; they reached 97.5 percent compliance. Miami-Dade schools spent about $50 million and reached 96.5 percent compliance.
Both districts also came up with some creative solutions to help meet the goal of 100 percent compliance. They added Internet-based virtual classes to older students; media specialists and athletic teachers were drafted into core curriculum classes.
Originally approved by voters in 2002, the plan was to phase in the caps over eight years. According to the amendment the state, and not local school districts, would foot the estimated $15 billion bill to ensure compliance. Broward Superintendent James Notter said then the economy collapsed and the state cut back on funding, putting the burden on the individual districts.
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