Governor Unveils Plan to Undermine Class Size Amendment

Gov. Jeb Bush wants Florida voters to say they’ve changed their minds on smaller classes since the 2002.

Bush’s plan would have class size measured at the district level rather than setting actual limits at the classroom level. Tying the change to higher teacher pay may split some of the class size’s most ardent supporters.

Three months after the reduced class size issue was added to the State Constitution, Jeb Bush was already calling for it’s repeal.

But this year’s repeal by voters of the high speed train has given Bush new hope. In a stroke of masterpiece politics, he is promising higher teacher pay in exchange for lessening smaller class size requirements.

Florida’s teacher’s union is torn. One day after Bush announced the repeal plan, the state Board of Education held a workshop on teacher recruitment.

On any given year, the state needs 20,000 teachers, but when the next step of smaller classes kicks in requiring smaller averages at the school level, Education Commissioner John Winn says the state will need 30,000 new teachers.

The ball is now in the Florida Legislature’s court. There is talk of putting the idea to vote in a special election which would be called sometime before the 2006 General Election.

Such a move would guarantee a low turnout, something policy makers believe would favor repeal of the original class size proposal.