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Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Ammendment 9 Bait-and-Switch We could have some fireworks down the line as the new class size state constitutional amendment gets implemented. This looks to be an issue that will find its way to the state Supreme Court and our politicians don't look good as a result from this piece.
Horne and Bush, however, defended the prospect of the class-size amendment cost being less than first suggested. Bush said it was because U.S Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami and the sponsor of the amendment, has agreed that state officials can meet the intent of the amendment by lowering class sizes on a districtwide average. "When the organizer of the amendment says we can lower the average two students per district, that changes a lot of the dynamics to this," said Bush, who still plans to ask lawmakers next year to borrow $3 billion to pay for 12,000 new classrooms in the next five years. The money would come from a tax now charged on cell phones, cable television and satellite dishes.
Minor problem- that's not what the text of the amendment says.
To assure that children attending public schools obtain a high quality education, the legislature shall make adequate provision to ensure that, by the beginning of the 2010 school year, there are a sufficient number of classrooms so that: 1. The maximum number of students who are assigned to each teacher who is teaching in public school classrooms for prekindergarten through grade 3 does not exceed 18 students; 2. The maximum number of students who are assigned to each teacher who is teaching in public school classrooms for grades 4 through 8 does not exceed 22 students; and 3. The maximum number of students who are assigned to each teacher who is teaching in public school classrooms for grades 9 through 12 does not exceed 25 students.
Note the each teacher part. If someone's got a kid in a elementary school with 25 kids in the class, they'll be in court, even if the school district average is 17. They can use statewide average for now in the reduce class sizes by two each year phase, but I think the courts would side with a parent if the state tried the bait-and-switch that Bush and Meek are proposing. Also remember that it could easily be the poorer parts of a district that will tend to have more kids and have more crowded classrooms, making Meek's liberal backers even more litigious. Wait for the liberals to accuse Bush of having this district-average proposal being one of the devious plans he joked about during the campaign.

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