Overcrowding in Brevard classrooms is breaking law



BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - In an effort to save millions of dollars in teachers' salaries, classes in Brevard County are being overcrowded.

In 2002, Florida voters approved a measure to cap class sizes: 18 students for elementary school, 22 for middle school and 25 for high school.

Teachers say it sends a bad lesson to students.

"They're breaking the constitution. There's no way around saying that," said Dan Bennett of the Brevard County Teachers Union.

Just one student over the limit is illegal.

But Brevard County, much like other districts, is ignoring the constitution.

"We know for years there have been a couple districts sliding on this. To pay the fine is cheaper than hiring all the teachers," said Bennett.

In fact, the district said it will gladly hand over $170,000 in fines instead of spending $5 million to hire more educators at $60,000.

"The district has been cost-cutting on the backs of students and teachers for way too long,' said parent Misty Belford.

Belford has two children that go to Oak Park Elementary in Titusville.

She's also planning to run for school board next year.

Belford said no parent wants to see their child's education suffer.

"Our teachers are forced to be everything for these kids. They can't effectively do it when they don't have resources to do it," said Belford.

The district said it's tough to control the problem with students constantly enrolling in schools mid-year.