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Poll: Floridians support class size cap

The amendment, passed in 2002, orders the state to give schools enough money to lower class sizes. Gov. Bush says the plan is too costly.

By Associated Press
Published March 2, 2004

JACKSONVILLE - Most Floridians want to keep an amendment capping class size in public schools, according to a new poll.

The amendment, which was passed in 2002, is supported by 43 percent of respondents, while 29 percent want it repealed, according to a poll conducted for the Florida Times-Union of Jacksonville and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The statewide poll of 600 registered voters was conducted by telephone Feb. 18-22 by Maryland-based Research 2000.

The poll had a 4 percent margin of error.

In November 2002, voters approved a constitutional amendment that orders the state to give school districts enough money to lower class sizes over the next eight years to reach caps that take effect in 2010.

The cap is 18 children per classroom for the early grades, 22 per classroom in the middle grades and 25 in high school classrooms.

Gov. Jeb Bush has argued the amendment is an unreasonable and costly demand by voters who didn't know what they were doing.

The class size caps will cost the state almost $1-billion in the first two years.

Legislators already are working to put a request on the ballot to alter or repeal the amendment.

Sen. Burt Saunders, R-Naples, has begun a petition drive for a ballot question that would preserve class size caps for kindergarten through third grade only.

Other survey findings On other questions in the survey:

Forty-eight percent of respondents said "no" when asked whether Florida is adequately funding its public schools, while 44 percent answered "yes." Public education was stated as a top funding priority.

Sixty-seven percent said the Legislature erred in October by passing "Terri's Law," which granted Bush his request to intervene in the case of Terri Schiavo, a woman in a persistent vegetative state who is in the middle of battle over whether she should be removed from life support. Bush used his new authority to order a feeding tube reinserted into Schiavo. Schiavo's husband says she had expressed a wish to die naturally, and he is fighting Bush in court.

Fifty-four percent favor amending the U.S. Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage, as President Bush has proposed. Forty percent oppose such an amendment.

[Last modified March 2, 2004, 01:44:59]

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