We here at FundEducationNow.org have spent the past few months meeting with various parent groups around the state that share the same mission to improve public education in the state of Florida. One of the very active groups that we met was Save Volusia Schools. They formed last winter when they heard of the dire cuts that Volusia County schools were facing. Instead of dismantling after federal stimulus money saved their schools, they decided to join forces with us and others around the state.
“The last three years, there’s been a slow slip in funding levels and what is offered to our children,” said Nowell of New Smyrna Beach. “In order to have an effect on the state, we need a statewide alliance. Nothing’s ever going to change until parents, business leaders and retirees step up to the plate.”
“I don’t think (legislators) understand what an injustice they’re doing to the educational system,” said Holland, of Ormond Beach.
Holland and Nowell said their first priority is educating the public about the recent history of Florida education funding and what lies ahead when the federal stimulus money runs out in two years and the constitutional amendment to reduce class size takes full force next year.
The amendment approved by voters in 2002 limits classes to 18 to 25 students depending on grade. A statewide simulation is planned this fall to estimate how many extra teachers it will require and how much they will cost.
The loss of the federal money and cost of class size reduction add up to what Fund Education Now co-founder Kathleen Oropeza of Orlando said is a funding “cliff” that Florida school districts will fall over unless action is taken.
Read the full story here to learn more about Amy Nowell, Diane Holland and Save Volusia Schools.