Duval County makes plans for large class size problem

by: Deanna Bettineschi Updated:

Holiday Hill Elementary School
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —

This school year, Duval County Schools has a $1.7 billion budget.

Action News spoke with Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti to find out where the money will be spent and how it will be used differently from last year.

In less than a week students will be walking back into Duval County schools.

“I met some really good friends there,” said a student.

Vitti says they can expect to see some changes in the classroom when it comes to class sizes.

“Logistically there's less movement,” said Vitti.

The state of Florida mandates that kindergarten through third grade be capped at 18 students per classroom, fourth through eighth grade classrooms should be capped at 22 students and ninth through 12th grade classes should be capped at 25.

Last year Duval County Schools leaders said there were more than 1,000 class sections, or class periods, that were not in compliance.

The district was fined $300,000 by the state.

Student Nicholas Campbell said he was one of the kids who had to move around to meet the class size standards.

“It was really weird at first having to move all my stuff to the other class and having to take all my stuff out of the hall,” said Campbell.

That's why Vitti has a different plan for class size goals this year.

“The board and I have made the decision to not focus on individual classrooms being at class size, instead making sure those classes aren't more than five students over that class size limit,” Vitti said.

Vitti plans to focus on class size averages, but he says he knows his plan will come with penalties of its own.

“We’re anticipating our penalty might be a little higher than 300,000 but that will be less movement for the children,” said Vitti.