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Education board cuts Manatee’s class size penalty

MANATEE -- Florida’s board of education just offered some welcome relief to 35 school districts, including Manatee County’s.

The board approved for Manatee County’s class size penalty to be reduced from $1.11 million to $257,794.

The Florida Department of Education recommended the reduction in the penalty Thursday evening. Florida Education Commissioner Eric Smith said school districts did a “fantastic job” of balancing instructional needs and the Class Size Amendment.

The amendment calls for a limiting of classroom sizes. The law mandates no more than 18 students in pre-kindergarten-third grades, 22 students in fourth through eighth grades and 25 in high school.

Manatee County schools found themselves in the unenviable position of being one of six counties to be penalized to the tune of more than $1 million.

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