Florida school districts dramatically increased their use of a loophole in the state’s class size law last year, according to newly released Department of Education data that’s bolstering lawmakers’ call for changes to the rule.
By the numbers, districts identified 56 percent more of their schools as “schools of choice” in 2014-15 than a year earlier, meaning that nearly two-thirds of all schools carried that designation. In 2013-14, 39 perecnt of schools had the label, which allowed them to calculate class size as a schoolwide average rather than room by room.
Thirty-three school districts had more than 50 percent of their campuses deemed “schools of choice” in 2014-15, up from 27. Among those, Seminole County increased its count from 18 of 61 schools to all of them, Palm Beach jumped from 25 of 177 schools to 153 of 177, and Marion County grew its number from 5 of 53 to 50 of 53.