April 28, 2006

Florida ed news: Class-size cap repeal killed

Surprisingly, the Florida senate vote on the Republican leadership's attempt to repeal or soften the constitutional class-size cap failed to muster even a majority, let alone the three-fifths supermajority needed in each house to go directly to the ballot.

More Florida ed politics on the jump...

If the class-size softening referendum were on the ballot, it would have been the first test of the 65-percent proposal in a large state. I think the combination would have sunk the initiative, because of the different ways the 65-percent proposal can be attacked in a referendum campaign. That wasn't the intent of attaching the 65-percent proposal, but it would have been inevitable... and that's not even considering the fundamental philosophical inconsistency of such a combination. (Let's lift some of the rigidity of the class-size caps, because we should give more flexibility to school districts to use resources in the way they know best. Oh, yes, and let's make sure they don't spend more than 35% on air conditioning, nurses, libraries, and buses.) The contradictions wouldn't have been of much political interest, but everything else would have.

Next up in the Florida Constitutional Roulette: vouchers. After the January state court decision killing the failing-schools voucher program, Governor Bush is keen to place a referendum on November's ballot to ask voters to let the legislature create voucher programs. Even if the state senate approves the referendum, I doubt voters will go for it. And given the surprising margin in today's vote on class-size caps, I'm skeptical it will even get to the ballot.

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Posted in Education policy on April 28, 2006 9:07 PM |