NAPLES, Fla. - The Florida Department of Education has released new numbers on class size compliance across the state.
Lee and Charlotte Counties perfectly fall in line with the state's class size requirements, but the same can't be said for Collier County. Out of 36 districts in violation, Collier was the top public school district in the state, in terms of percentage of classes, over the class size cap.
State numbers found Collier County with 4,116 classrooms above the legal class size limit; that's 25% of all classes in the district, a greater overall percentage than any other district in the state.
Florida schools are only allowed 18 students in pre-K through third grade, 22 in fourth through eighth, and 25 in high schools.
Collier County was banking on a change to the limit under Amendment 8, until voters rejected it in November. Now the county faces a costly fine from the state for non-compliance.
School board members discussed the potential financial hit at a meeting two weeks ago: an estimated $3.5 million penalty for exceeding class size limits; plus an additional cost of more than $9 million to hire enough teachers to meet the cap.
Collier County does have until December 17th to file an appeal with the state Board of Education. Otherwise, the District has until February 15 to send a plan to the state showing how they'll bring down class sizes; if they do so, the fine could be reduced.