In 2000, the Florida legislature passed the statute shown below, that recognizes the benefits of small schools and prohibits, as of July 2003, the construction of large schools. As of that date, new elementary schools will be limited to 500 students, middle schools to 700, and high schools to 900.
Florida Statutes: Title XVI Education – Chapter 235 Educational Facilities
235.2157 Small school requirement.–
(1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.–The Legislature finds that:
(a) Florida’s schools are among the largest in the nation.
(b) Smaller schools provide benefits of reduced discipline problems and crime, reduced truancy and gang participation, reduced dropout rates, improved teacher and student attitudes, improved student self-perception, student academic achievement equal to or superior to that of students at larger schools, and increased parental involvement.
(c) Smaller schools can provide these benefits while not increasing administrative and construction costs.
(2) DEFINITION.–As used in this section, “small school” means:
(a) An elementary school with a student population of not more than 500 students.
(b) A middle school with a student population of not more than 700 students.
(c) A high school with a student population of not more than 900 students.
(d) A school serving kindergarten through grade 8 with a student population of not more than 700 students.
(e) A school serving kindergarten through grade 12 with a student population of not more than 900 students.
Aschool on a single campus which operates as a school-within-a-school, as defined by s. 230.23(20), shall be considered a small school if each smaller unit located on the single campus meets the requirements of this subsection.
(a) Beginning July 1, 2003, all plans for new educational facilities to be constructed within a school district and reflected in the 5-year school district facilities work plan shall be plans for small schools in order to promote increased learning and more effective use of school facilities.
(b) Small schools shall comply with all laws, rules, and court orders relating to racial balance.
(4)EXCEPTIONS.–This section does not apply to plans for new educational facilities already under architectural contract on July 1, 2003.
History.–s. 21, ch. 2000-235.