OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol
OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

Education System

Class Size Reduction

What is the purpose of the program?

In 2002, Floridians approved an amendment to Article IX, Section 1, Constitution of the State of Florida, setting limits on the number of students in core classes such as Math, English, and Science in the state's public schools.

What are the class size limits?

Beginning in the 2010-11 school year, the maximum number of students in each core class is
  • 18 students in prekindergarten through grade 3;
  • 22 students in grades 4 through 8; and
  • 25 students in grades 9 through 12.

Which classes are included in class size reduction?

The core-curricula courses included in class size reduction are described in s. 1003.01(14), Florida Statutes.  Core-curricula courses exclude extracurricular courses such as physical education, fine arts, performing arts, career education and courses that may result in college credit as specified in s. 1003.01(15), Florida Statutes. In addition, blended learning courses (consisting of both traditional classroom and online instruction) and virtual education courses are excluded from the definition of core-curricula courses and are therefore not subject to class size requirements.

How is the implementation of class size reduction measured?

Class size is measured through the following calculations.
  • Count the number of students in each class within each room/period.
  • For students reported multiple times in a single room/period combination, count each student only once (students are occasionally assigned to more than one course for a class, e.g., ESE students enrolled in both an ESE course and mainstream course for a given class period).
  • Determine the main course taught in each room/period based on the course with the majority of students.
  • Determine the main grade taught in each room/period based on the grade with the majority of students in the main course.
  • Determine whether or not the main course is a core course.
  • Count the number of unduplicated students in each room/period, allowing for adjustments based on scheduling method.
Class size is calculated for district-operated schools of choice and charter schools on a school-wide average by grade group, which is the total number of students enrolled in core courses divided by the number of core courses for each grade group.

What is the average class size in Florida school districts?

The Department of Education maintains annual data on average class size. 
2019-20 Average Class Sizes for Core Courses
School Type Grades Pk-3 Grades 4-8 Grades 9-12
Traditional Schools 14.44 15.79 13.18 
District-Operated Schools of Choice 15.98 18.64 20.63 
Charter Schools 16.48 19.48 17.92 
Source: Florida Department of Education.

How many classrooms/ schools are out of compliance with the constitutional limits?

In 2019-20 (prior to appeals), 288 out of 14,580 traditional public school classrooms exceeded the constitutional limits. In addition, 13 of 659 charter schools, and 23 of 2,900 district-operated schools of choice exceeded the limits.

What funding has been provided for class size reduction?

The Florida Department of Education summarizes class size reduction funding for capital outlay (construction) and operating funds since 2003-04.

Are there financial penalties associated with noncompliance with class-size requirements?

For each district that is out of compliance with class-size requirements, s. 1003.03(4), Florida Statutes, requires the department to calculate a reduction in the district's class-size allocation. The department then reallocates class-size funds to districts that are fully in compliance with class-size requirements.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website.

Where can I get more information?

Other Reports
Class Size Reduction Allocations, Florida Department of Education
Class Size Reduction Memorandums, Florida Department of Education
Class Size Funding Adjustments, Florida Department of Education
Class Size: What Research Says and What it Means for State Policy, The Brookings Institution, May 2011.
Class-Size Policies, Kyle Zinth, Education Commission of the States, April 2010.
Maximum P-12 Class-Size Policies, Kyle Zinth, Education Commissions of the States, November 2009.
State Policies Focusing on Class-size Reduction, Kyle Zinth, Education Commissions of the States, September 2009.

Websites of Interest
Education Commission of the States, Recent State Policies/Activities Related to Class Size
Florida Department of Education, Class Size Reduction Amendment
Florida Department of Education, Public Schools/Districts
Performance Information
Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan.

What are the applicable statutes?

Article IX, Section 1, Constitution of the State of Florida; and ss. 1002.31 (school of choice), 1002.33(16)(b)(3) (charter schools), 1003.01(14) (core-curricula courses) and 1003.01(15) (extracurricular courses), 1003.03 (maximum class size), 1011.685 (class size reduction, operating categorical fund), and 1013.735 (Classrooms for Kids Program), Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Josh Bemis, Office of Funding and Financial Reporting, 850-245-0405, email:  AskOFFR@fldoe.org
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