Holmes District Schools face largest fine for not meeting state class size requirements

By: Meredith TerHaar Email
By: Meredith TerHaar Email

Holmes County - The state handed down fines to school districts, not meeting new class size limits. The stiffest fine goes to Holmes County, more than $51,000. Other districts include Franklin County for $41,000 and tiny Liberty County $29,000. The smallest fine goes to Washington County at only $1,300. Bay, Jackson, and Okaloosa were not fined.

Some districts knew these fines were coming. Larry Zorn is the man in charge of bringing Holmes District Schools into compliance with the state's class size restrictions. He says it was easier for the district to pay the $51,000 fine than shell out hundreds of thousands to be in compliance.

"It would cost us between $400,000 and $500,000 to meet the state requirements and we were just not able to do it this year." With just 17 students too many districtwide, Zorn says the requirements are too restrictive. "I can see the class size... wanting it at 18, 22, and 25, but the state in the constitutional amendment ought to have left us a little leeway to have one or two students over without having a big penalty for it," said Zorn.

The district hopes to be in compliance in time for this fall's October deadline. "We will have to hire more teachers, and possibly some extra classrooms," at a price tag of $400,000 to $500,000. "It will take money from other programs, maybe even taking shutting some programs down to compensate for it."

After the $51,000 fine is paid, Zorn says the district plans to appeal to the state. They hope to receive 75% to 80% of that money back.

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  • by Roy Location: Holmes Co on Jan 8, 2011 at 08:21 AM
    The state did not do this as the previous post stated. It was voted in by the people of the state therefore is a mandate. I agree with the statement about the prisoners, however they should be out cleaning ditches etc. and paying for their stay but that is in-humane treatment, bring back the road crews and use a ball and chain method, but that will not happen either. I believe there was a referendem to change the class size in the last election but it got turned down by the voters too. The way to change is at the polls. I do not agree with the fine them approach either, I often wonder what happens to all these fines? Who gets to keep and decide where they go.
  • by feed up Location: Southport on Jan 7, 2011 at 01:26 PM
    That sounds like the perfect answer fine them, if they cant afford to enforce the class size limit that our wonderful state has mandated , how in the world do you expect them to pay a fine. Oh I know TAKE IT OUT ON THE CHILDREN, if its so important to make this mandatory then make FUNDING AVAILABLE. The state can come up with the money cut back on a lot of different things than our children. Cut the prisons budgets, here is a suggestion make them drink water and eat noodles, and rice,(SOME PEOPLE WOULD BE HAPPY TO HAVE THIS) no TV’s no sports equipment I bet you don’t touch there education fund, one red dime .Take there’s away they are in there for a reason they need to be treated like prisoners not like they are in a hotel.And there is no reason on earth that some county Employees should make $142,000.00 dollars a year when you have had some that have not had a raise in almost 4 YEARS !
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