School districts still grapple with class size limits

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Students do classwork at a Choice High School English class in this 2012 file photo.

FILE PHOTO | Northwest Florida Daily News
Published: Monday, November 19, 2012 at 11:52 AM.

FORT WALTON BEACH — Snapshots taken last month to determine whether classrooms in local school districts met strict state size requirements has produced a mixed bag.

Okaloosa County Schools met the requirements. Walton County Schools likely did, but a few data errors have delayed the final results. Santa Rosa County Schools once again likely did not.

“You never know when there’s going to be one little glitch,” Okaloosa County Superintendent of School Alexis Tibbetts said. “(But) every year this has gotten easier.”

 Since 2010-11, school districts in Florida have been statutorily required to cap the number of students in each core curriculum class at each school.

The voter-approved mandate has been an uphill battle from the start. It has cost school districts millions of dollars to build new classrooms, hire additional staff and divide classes to comply.

Lawmakers tried to modify the statute in 2010, but it failed at the polls. 

“It really is something that the principal starts studying as soon as they start getting in numbers for the next August,” Tibbetts said.

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