Class Size Reduction

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Gov. Bush is proposing the voters do away with the current class size amendment and make the teaching profession a more attractive career at the same time.

School Board officials here in the Panhandle are initially welcoming the flexibility these changes could provide. Jackson County School Board Superintendent Danny Sims is relieved to here to hear about Gov. Bush's new proposal on class size reduction.

Danny Sims says, "What class size reduction was going to us in the final year, when it had to be classroom by classroom was going to cost Jackson County almost $2 million."

That's the price tag on the 43 extra teachers that Sims would need to hire to meet 2010's class by class standards. He says that in the end the governor realized that it would be more cost effective to make a few changes.

"So his proposal for this legislation is not to do away with class size reduction, but to modify it and keep us responsible at the district level to have a district average."

In addition, the resolution would establish the minimum beginning teacher pay at no less than $35,000 a year and require future increases to keep the pay above the national average.

Steven Griffin, Holmes County School Board Superintendent, says, "We had a kind of an uphill struggle in that arena. Kids graduate from college and can go into other areas and can make more lot more than they can in education. That's been a negative drawback in the past, but if we do have flexibility wit these moneys I think we can get to a level playing field and be successful in attracting quality teachers."

Some principals around the state were considering cutting out classes like band, art and music to meet the class size requirements by 2010.