Constitutional Amendment No. 8: Collins Center for Public Policy

AT A GLANCE: AMENDMENT 8

Sponsor/Originator: Florida Legislature

Title on Ballot: Revision of the class size requirements

for public schools

Official Summary: The Florida Constitution currently

limits the maximum number of students assigned

to each teacher in public school classrooms in the

following grade groupings: for prekindergarten through

grade 3, 18 students; for grades 4 through 8, 22

students; and for grades 9 through 12, 25 students.

Under this amendment, the current limits on the

maximum number of students assigned to each

teacher in public school classrooms would become

limits on the average number of students assigned per

class to each teacher, by specified grade grouping, in

each public school. This amendment also adopts new

limits on the maximum number of students assigned

to each teacher in an individual classroom as follows:

for prekindergarten through grade 3, 21 students; for

grades 4 through 8, 27 students; and for grades 9

through 12, 30 students. This amendment specifies

that class size limits do not apply to virtual classes,

requires the Legislature to provide sufficient funds to

maintain the average number of students required by

this amendment, and schedules these revisions to take

effect upon approval by the electors of this state and to

operate retroactively to the beginning of the 2010-2011

school year.

Arguments for: The cost to implement the current

requirements is simply too high in today’s poor

economy. The state can’t afford to build more

classrooms and hire more teachers. This amendment

would provide needed flexibility that does not exist in

the Constitution as amended in 2002.

Arguments against: The state’s voters made it clear

in 2002 that they wanted to limit class sizes. Smaller

classes make a better learning environment.

About Stephen E. McGaughey
International consultant in financing development programs and projects

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