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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title XLVIII
EARLY LEARNING-20 EDUCATION CODE
Chapter 1003
PUBLIC K-12 EDUCATION
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F.S. 1003.03
1003.03 Maximum class size.
(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.

(2) IMPLEMENTATION.
(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 earn more than the 24 credits to graduate from high school.
2. Implement the early graduation options provided in ss. 1002.3105(5) and 1003.4281.
(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, 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.Each district that has not complied with the requirements in subsection (1), based on the October student membership survey, shall submit to the commissioner by February 1 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.
(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 State 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 s. 1003.01(5), 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.
History.s. 113, ch. 2002-387; s. 2, ch. 2003-391; s. 59, ch. 2005-152; s. 16, ch. 2006-74; s. 2, ch. 2007-59; s. 7, ch. 2007-98; s. 1, ch. 2007-328; s. 5, ch. 2008-142; s. 9, ch. 2009-3; s. 14, ch. 2009-59; ss. 11, 12, ch. 2010-154; s. 31, ch. 2011-5; s. 15, ch. 2011-55; s. 13, ch. 2011-137; s. 11, ch. 2012-133; s. 10, ch. 2013-27; s. 45, ch. 2013-35; s. 35, ch. 2014-39; s. 149, ch. 2023-8; s. 1, ch. 2023-104; ss. 23, 53, ch. 2023-245.