(1) CLASS SIZE MAXIMUMS.—Each year, on or before the October student membership survey, the following class size maximums shall be satisfied:
(a) The maximum number of students assigned to each teacher who is teaching core-curricula courses in public school classrooms for prekindergarten through grade 3 may not exceed 18 students.
(b) The maximum number of students assigned to each teacher who is teaching core-curricula courses in public school classrooms for grades 4 through 8 may not exceed 22 students. The maximum number of students assigned to a core-curricula high school course in which a student in grades 4 through 8 is enrolled shall be governed by the requirements in paragraph (c).
(c) The maximum number of students assigned to each teacher who is teaching core-curricula courses in public school classrooms for grades 9 through 12 may not exceed 25 students.
These maximums shall be maintained after the October student membership survey, except as provided in paragraph (2)(b) or due to an extreme emergency beyond the control of the district school board.
(a) The Department of Education shall annually calculate class size measures described in subsection (1) based upon the October student membership survey.
(b) A student who enrolls in a school after the October student membership survey may be assigned to an existing class that temporarily exceeds the maximum number of students in subsection (1) if the district school board determines it to be impractical, educationally unsound, or disruptive to student learning to not assign the student to the class. If the district school board makes this determination:
1. Up to three students may be assigned to a teacher in kindergarten through grade 3 above the maximum as provided in paragraph (1)(a);
2. Up to five students may be assigned to a teacher in grades 4 through 12 above the maximum as provided in paragraphs (1)(b) and (c), respectively; and
3. The district school board shall develop a plan that provides that the school will be in full compliance with the maximum class size in subsection (1) by the next October student membership survey.
(3) IMPLEMENTATION OPTIONS.—District school boards must consider, but are not limited to, implementing the following items in order to meet the constitutional class size maximums described in subsection (1):
(a) Adopt policies to encourage qualified students to take dual enrollment courses.
(b) Adopt policies to encourage students to take courses from the Florida Virtual School and other virtual instruction options under s. 1002.45.
(c)1. Repeal district school board policies that require students to have more than 24 credits to graduate from high school.
2. Adopt policies to allow students to graduate from high school as soon as they pass the grade 10 FCAT and complete the courses required for high school graduation.
(d) Use methods to maximize use of instructional staff, such as changing required teaching loads and scheduling of planning periods, deploying district employees that have professional certification to the classroom, using adjunct educators, or any other method not prohibited by law.
(e) Use innovative methods to reduce the cost of school construction by using prototype school designs, using SMART Schools designs, participating in the School Infrastructure Thrift Program, or any other method not prohibited by law.
(f) Use joint-use facilities through partnerships with Florida College System institutions, state universities, and private colleges and universities. Joint-use facilities available for use as K-12 classrooms that do not meet the K-12 State Regulations for Educational Facilities in the Florida Building Code may be used at the discretion of the district school board provided that such facilities meet all other health, life, safety, and fire codes.
(g) Adopt alternative methods of class scheduling, such as block scheduling.
(h) Redraw school attendance zones to maximize use of facilities while minimizing the additional use of transportation.
(i) Operate schools beyond the normal operating hours to provide classes in the evening or operate more than one session of school during the day.
(j) Use year-round schools and other nontraditional calendars that do not adversely impact annual assessment of student achievement.
(k) Review and consider amending any collective bargaining contracts that hinder the implementation of class size reduction.
(l) Use any other approach not prohibited by law.
(4) ACCOUNTABILITY.— (a) If the department determines that the number of students assigned to any individual class exceeds the class size maximum, as required in subsection (1), based upon the October student membership survey, the department shall:
1. Identify, for each grade group, the number of classes in which the number of students exceeds the maximum and the total number of students which exceeds the maximum for all classes.
2. Determine the number of FTE students which exceeds the maximum for each grade group.
3. Multiply the total number of FTE students which exceeds the maximum for each grade group by the district’s FTE dollar amount of the class size categorical allocation for that year and calculate the total for all three grade groups.
4. Multiply the total number of FTE students which exceeds the maximum for all classes by an amount equal to 50 percent of the base student allocation adjusted by the district cost differential for the 2010-2011 fiscal year and by an amount equal to the base student allocation adjusted by the district cost differential beginning in the 2011-2012 fiscal year and thereafter.
5. Reduce the district’s class size categorical allocation by an amount equal to the sum of the calculations in subparagraphs 3. and 4.
(b) The amount of funds reduced shall be the lesser of the amount calculated in paragraph (a) or the undistributed balance of the district’s class size categorical allocation. The Florida Education Finance Program Appropriation Allocation Conference shall verify the department’s calculation in paragraph (a). The commissioner may withhold distribution of the class size categorical allocation to the extent necessary to comply with paragraph (a).
1(c) In lieu of the reduction calculation in paragraph (a), if the Commissioner of Education has evidence that a district was unable to meet the class size requirements despite appropriate efforts to do so or because of an extreme emergency, the commissioner may recommend by February 15, subject to approval of the Legislative Budget Commission, the reduction of an alternate amount of funds from the district’s class size categorical allocation.
(d) Upon approval of the reduction calculation in paragraphs (a)-(c), the commissioner must prepare a reallocation of the funds made available for the districts that have fully met the class size requirements. The funds shall be reallocated by calculating an amount of up to 5 percent of the base student allocation multiplied by the total district FTE students. The reallocation total may not exceed 25 percent of the total funds reduced.
(e) Each district that has not complied with the requirements in subsection (1) shall submit to the commissioner by February 15 a plan certified by the district school board that describes the specific actions the district will take in order to fully comply with the requirements in subsection (1) by October of the following school year. If a district submits the certified plan by the required deadline, the funds remaining after the reallocation calculation in paragraph (d) shall be added back to the district’s class size categorical allocation based on each qualifying district’s proportion of the total reduction for all qualifying districts for which a reduction was calculated in paragraphs (a)-(c). However, no district shall have an amount added back that is greater than the amount that was reduced.
(f) The department shall adjust school district class size reduction categorical allocation distributions based on the calculations in paragraphs (a)-(e).
(5) TEAM-TEACHING STRATEGIES.— (a) School districts may use teaching strategies that include the assignment of more than one teacher to a classroom of students and that were implemented before July 1, 2005. Effective July 1, 2005, school districts may implement additional teaching strategies that include the assignment of more than one teacher to a classroom of students for the following purposes only:
1. Pairing teachers for the purpose of staff development.
2. Pairing new teachers with veteran teachers.
3. Reducing turnover among new teachers.
4. Pairing teachers who are teaching out-of-field with teachers who are in-field.
5. Providing for more flexibility and innovation in the classroom.
6. Improving learning opportunities for students, including students who have disabilities.
(b) Teaching strategies, including team teaching, co-teaching, or inclusion teaching, implemented on or after July 1, 2005, pursuant to paragraph (a) may be implemented subject to the following restrictions:
1. Reasonable limits shall be placed on the number of students in a classroom so that classrooms are not overcrowded. Teacher-to-student ratios within a curriculum area or grade level must not exceed constitutional limits.
2. At least one member of the team must have at least 3 years of teaching experience.
3. At least one member of the team must be teaching in-field.
4. The teachers must be trained in team-teaching methods within 1 year after assignment.
(c) As used in this subsection, the term:
1. “Team teaching” or “co-teaching” means two or more teachers are assigned to a group of students and each teacher is responsible for all of the students during the entire class period. In order to be considered team teaching or co-teaching, each teacher is responsible for planning, delivering, and evaluating instruction for all students in the class or subject for the entire class period.
2. “Inclusion teaching” means two or more teachers are assigned to a group of students, but one of the teachers is responsible for only one student or a small group of students in the classroom.
The use of strategies implemented as outlined in this subsection meets the letter and intent of the Florida Constitution and the Florida Statutes which relate to implementing class size reduction, and this subsection applies retroactively. A school district may not be penalized financially or otherwise as a result of the use of any legal strategy, including, but not limited to, those set forth in subsection (3) and this subsection.
(6) COURSES FOR COMPLIANCE.—Consistent with the provisions in ss. 1003.01(14) and 1003.428, the Department of Education shall identify from the Course Code Directory the core-curricula courses for the purpose of satisfying the maximum class size requirement in this section. The department may adopt rules to implement this subsection, if necessary.