TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – The Broward Schools district has appealed a $3 million fine for violating the state’s class size law.

Broward was fined $3 million, Miami-Dade ordered to pay $6.6 million, for violating the new state enforced caps which limit the numbers of students per teacher in core classes like reading and math, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald. The caps are set at 18 elementary students, 22 students at the middle school level and 25 high school students allowed in a classroom.

Miami-Dade has not said if they plan to appeal the penalty.

Broward school officials will find out January 18th if their appeal is successful when it is heard by the state’s Board of Education which will meet in Pensacola. The final penalty amounts must then be approved by the Legislative Budget Commission.

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 classrooms.

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.

(© MMX CBS Television Stations. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)



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