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Class-size Amendment Passes Major Hurdle

A constitutional amendment that gives schools a little wiggle room on meeting class-size requirements passed through the Policy and Steering Committee on Ways and Means just before noon today. Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Destin, got his proposal passed with a 15-8 vote, with all Republicans and one Democrat voting for it.

A 2002 constitutional amendment set the limits at 18 per class in kindergarten through third grade, 22 fourth through middle, and 25 in high schools.

Gaetz says meeting those requirements by next fall would be very challenging if schools have to stick to those strict limits. His proposal (SJR 2) would allow schools to have up to 21 students from kindergarten through middle school and up to 30 in high schools. It would also allow the schools to measure the count by average instead of by a strict, per-class basis.

Minority Lead Whip Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens, vowed to do everything in her power to make sure the amendment ultimately doesn't pass. Her negative vote, and the negative vote of most of her fellow Democrats in the committee, helped make that clear.

The bill now moves to the floor. Gaetz said it's going to take a lot of heavy lifting to get the amendment all the way through to a November vote.

More later at SunshineStateNews.com.

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