2007 Florida Statutes
Maximum class size.
1003.03 Maximum class size.--
(1) CONSTITUTIONAL CLASS SIZE MAXIMUMS.--Pursuant to s. 1, Art. IX of the State Constitution, beginning in the 2010-2011 school year:
(a) The maximum number of students assigned to each teacher who is teaching core-curricula courses in public school classrooms for prekindergarten through grade 3 may not exceed 18 students.
(b) The maximum number of students assigned to each teacher who is teaching core-curricula courses in public school classrooms for grades 4 through 8 may not exceed 22 students.
(c) The maximum number of students assigned to each teacher who is teaching core-curricula courses in public school classrooms for grades 9 through 12 may not exceed 25 students.
(a) Beginning with the 2003-2004 fiscal year, each school district that is not in compliance with the maximums in subsection (1) shall reduce the average number of students per classroom in each of the following grade groupings: prekindergarten through grade 3, grade 4 through grade 8, and grade 9 through grade 12, by at least two students each year.
(b) Determination of the number of students per classroom in paragraph (a) shall be calculated as follows:
1. For fiscal years 2003-2004 through 2005-2006, the calculation for compliance for each of the 3 grade groupings shall be the average at the district level.
2. For fiscal years 2006-2007 through 2007-2008, the calculation for compliance for each of the 3 grade groupings shall be the average at the school level.
3. For fiscal years 2008-2009, 2009-2010, and thereafter, the calculation for compliance shall be at the individual classroom level.
4. For fiscal years 2006-2007 through 2009-2010 and thereafter, each teacher assigned to any classroom shall be included in the calculation for compliance.
(c) The Department of Education shall annually calculate each of the three average class size measures defined in paragraphs (a) and (b) based upon the October student membership survey. For purposes of determining the baseline from which each district's average class size must be reduced for the 2003-2004 school year, the department shall use data from the February 2003 student membership survey updated to include classroom identification numbers as required by the department.
(d) Prior to the adoption of the district school budget for 2004-2005, each district school board shall hold public hearings to review school attendance zones in order to ensure maximum use of facilities while minimizing the additional use of transportation in order to comply with the two-student-per-year reduction required in paragraph (a). School districts that meet the constitutional class size maximums described in subsection (1) are exempt from this requirement.
(3) IMPLEMENTATION OPTIONS.--District school boards must consider, but are not limited to, implementing the following items in order to meet the constitutional class size maximums described in subsection (1) and the two-student-per-year reduction required in subsection (2):
(a) Adopt policies to encourage qualified students to take dual enrollment courses.
(b) Adopt policies to encourage students to take courses from the Florida Virtual School.
(c)1. Repeal district school board policies that require students to have more than 24 credits to graduate from high school.
2. Adopt policies to allow students to graduate from high school as soon as they pass the grade 10 FCAT and complete the courses required for high school graduation.
(d) Use methods to maximize use of instructional staff, such as changing required teaching loads and scheduling of planning periods, deploying district employees that have professional certification to the classroom, using adjunct educators, or any other method not prohibited by law.
(e) Use innovative methods to reduce the cost of school construction by using prototype school designs, using SMART Schools designs, participating in the School Infrastructure Thrift Program, or any other method not prohibited by law.
(f) Use joint-use facilities through partnerships with community colleges, state universities, and private colleges and universities. Joint-use facilities available for use as K-12 classrooms that do not meet the K-12 State Regulations for Educational Facilities in the Florida Building Code may be used at the discretion of the district school board provided that such facilities meet all other health, life, safety, and fire codes.
(g) Adopt alternative methods of class scheduling, such as block scheduling.
(h) Redraw school attendance zones to maximize use of facilities while minimizing the additional use of transportation.
(i) Operate schools beyond the normal operating hours to provide classes in the evening or operate more than one session of school during the day.
(j) Use year-round schools and other nontraditional calendars that do not adversely impact annual assessment of student achievement.
(k) Review and consider amending any collective bargaining contracts that hinder the implementation of class size reduction.
(l) Use any other approach not prohibited by law.
(a)1. Beginning in the 2003-2004 fiscal year, if the department determines for any year that a school district has not reduced average class size as required in subsection (2) at the time of the third FEFP calculation, the department shall calculate an amount from the class size reduction operating categorical which is proportionate to the amount of class size reduction not accomplished. Upon verification of the department's calculation by the Florida Education Finance Program Appropriation Allocation Conference and not later than March 1 of each year, the Executive Office of the Governor shall transfer undistributed funds equivalent to the calculated amount from the district's class size reduction operating categorical to an approved fixed capital outlay appropriation for class size reduction in the affected district pursuant to s. 216.292(2)(d). The amount of funds transferred shall be the lesser of the amount verified by the Florida Education Finance Program Appropriation Allocation Conference or the undistributed balance of the district's class size reduction operating categorical.
2. In lieu of the transfer required by subparagraph 1., the Commissioner of Education may recommend a budget amendment, subject to approval by the Legislative Budget Commission, to transfer an alternative amount of funds from the district's class size reduction operating categorical to its approved fixed capital outlay account for class size reduction if the commissioner finds that the State Board of Education has reviewed evidence indicating that a district has been unable to meet class size reduction requirements despite appropriate effort to do so. The commissioner's budget amendment must be submitted to the Legislative Budget Commission by February 15 of each year.
(b) Beginning in the 2005-2006 school year, the department shall determine by January 15 of each year which districts have not met the two-student-per-year reduction required in subsection (2) based upon a comparison of the district's October student membership survey for the current school year and the February 2003 baseline student membership survey. The department shall report such districts to the Legislature. Each district that has not met the two-student-per-year reduction shall be required to implement one of the following policies in the subsequent school year unless the department finds that the district comes into compliance based upon the February student membership survey:
1. Year-round schools;
2. Double sessions;
3. Rezoning; or
4. Maximizing use of instructional staff by changing required teacher loads and scheduling of planning periods, deploying school district employees who have professional certification to the classroom, using adjunct educators, operating schools beyond the normal operating hours to provide classes in the evening, or operating more than one session during the day.
A school district that is required to implement one of the policies outlined in subparagraphs 1.-4. shall correct in the year of implementation any past deficiencies and bring the district into compliance with the two-student-per-year reduction goals established for the district by the department pursuant to subsection (2). A school district may choose to implement more than one of these policies. The district school superintendent shall report to the Commissioner of Education the extent to which the district implemented any of the policies outlined in subparagraphs 1.-4. in a format to be specified by the Commissioner of Education. The Department of Education shall use the enforcement authority provided in s. 1008.32 to ensure that districts comply with the provisions of this paragraph.
(c) Beginning in the 2006-2007 school year, the department shall annually determine which districts do not meet the requirements described in subsection (2). In addition to enforcement authority provided in s. 1008.32, the Department of Education shall develop a constitutional compliance plan for each such district which includes, but is not limited to, redrawing school attendance zones to maximize use of facilities while minimizing the additional use of transportation unless the department finds that the district comes into compliance based upon the February student membership survey and the other accountability policies listed in paragraph (b). Each district school board shall implement the constitutional compliance plan developed by the state board until the district complies with the constitutional class size maximums.
(5) TEAM-TEACHING STRATEGIES.--
(a) School districts may use teaching strategies that include the assignment of more than one teacher to a classroom of students and that were implemented before July 1, 2005. Effective July 1, 2005, school districts may implement additional teaching strategies that include the assignment of more than one teacher to a classroom of students for the following purposes only:
1. Pairing teachers for the purpose of staff development.
2. Pairing new teachers with veteran teachers.
3. Reducing turnover among new teachers.
4. Pairing teachers who are teaching out-of-field with teachers who are in-field.
5. Providing for more flexibility and innovation in the classroom.
6. Improving learning opportunities for students, including students who have disabilities.
(b) Teaching strategies, including team teaching, co-teaching, or inclusion teaching, implemented on or after July 1, 2005, pursuant to paragraph (a) may be implemented subject to the following restrictions:
1. Reasonable limits shall be placed on the number of students in a classroom so that classrooms are not overcrowded. Teacher-to-student ratios within a curriculum area or grade level must not exceed constitutional limits.
2. At least one member of the team must have at least 3 years of teaching experience.
3. At least one member of the team must be teaching in-field.
4. The teachers must be trained in team-teaching methods within 1 year after assignment.
(c) As used in this subsection, the term:
1. "Team teaching" or "co-teaching" means two or more teachers are assigned to a group of students and each teacher is responsible for all of the students during the entire class period. In order to be considered team teaching or co-teaching, each teacher is responsible for planning, delivering, and evaluating instruction for all students in the class or subject for the entire class period.
2. "Inclusion teaching" means two or more teachers are assigned to a group of students, but one of the teachers is responsible for only one student or a small group of students in the classroom.
The use of strategies implemented as outlined in this subsection meets the letter and intent of the Florida Constitution and the Florida Statutes which relate to implementing class size reduction, and this subsection applies retroactively. A school district may not be penalized financially or otherwise as a result of the use of any legal strategy, including, but not limited to, those set forth in subsection (3) and this subsection.
History.--s. 113, ch. 2002-387; s. 2, ch. 2003-391; s. 59, ch. 2005-152; s. 16, ch. 2006-74; s. 2, ch. 2007-59; s. 7, ch. 2007-98.