Class size reductions in budget pass Legislature

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Tucked into budget bills passed by the House and Senate on Thursday is a reduction of the number of classes that fall under Florida? class-size restrictions, reports the News Service of Florida. Under the bills (HB 5101, SB 2120), fewer courses would be required to meet the class-size standards. In the more stringent House version, only ?ore curriculum?classes are counted under class size. This means foreign language classes and honors and Advanced Placement courses could go beyond class-size caps. Under the Senate version of the education funding bill, it was amended Wednesday so that social studies is defined as a core class and all prekindergarten through third-grade classes must meet class size requirements. In debate, House Democrats said the bill was letting school districts go around a voter-approved mandate. Democrats said under current class-size requirements, 849 courses would fallen under the caps. But under the bill approved in the House, that number falls to 288 classes. ? am very concerned that if this passes, that those classes, economics or zoology, will have 50 students in it.?House Republicans said it provides flexibility to school districts to meet class size requirements that have caused some school districts to pay fines due to their inability to meet the voter mandate. ?t? impossible to make (class size) happen unless we provide some definition as to what we have as a core class,?said Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami. He said school districts have agreed to the bill? definition.

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