JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local school district already strapped for cash is facing millions of dollars in fines from the state.
Action News obtained the latest statistics on class sizes from the Florida Department of Education. Duval County faces a $7.4 million fine for failing to comply with class-size regulations. Core classes like science, math and english are requred to have no more than 18 children through third grade, 22 in fourth through eighth grades and 25 in high school. According to the state's findings, nearly one in five classes in the school district is over the cap.
Some parents told Action News that they worried about how much attention students received in the midst of crowded classrooms.
Superintendent Nikolai Vitti told Action News that staff members need to review class-size numbers earlier to ensure the district always keeps an accurate head count.
Vitti says that he guarantees at least 95 percent of Duval schools will meet the state's class-size requirements next year. On the job for a month, he's discovered the district needs to review how his staff reports numbers to the state.
Vitti says the non-compliance is partially due to clerical errors. The district is appealing the fine and once the review process takes place, Vitti expects the fine will be reduced to less than $1 million.
"Moving forward as a district we will be much more compliant," said Vitti. "That will start with me going into next year and especially with our classes in reading and math that have a high level of students that are below grade level."
According to the Florida Department of Education, school districts in St. Johns, Clay, Nassau and Baker counties were compliant with the state's class-size laws.