Florida Class-size limits again up for vote

Linda Trimble

Linda White and Amy Nowell both voted in 2002 to amend the Florida Constitution to limit the size of classes in the state’s public schools.
The two now are on opposite sides when it comes to redefining those limits — an issue that will be decided by Florida voters in the Nov. 2 general election. Their views mirror a statewide debate about whether to keep the class-size rules as they are or give school officials more flexibility to comply with them.
School officials say they desperately need the flexibility Amendment 8 would provide as students move in and out of classes during the year. Other Amendment 8 supporters say the original limits — which they estimate will cost $350 million to $1 billion annually going forward — are simply too expensive for the state to afford.
Critics, like the state teachers union and Florida PTA, say the smaller classes approved in 2002 are best for students and are workable if the Florida Legislature would only fund them properly as required by the original constitutional amendment.