Class size coalition wins court decision on ballot referendum

A State Supreme Court justice decided last week that a referendum on class size can appear on the ballot in next month’s election, overruling the city’s contention that such a placement would be unconstitutional.

Class Size Matters, a coalition of advocacy groups and labor unions, had worked to have the referendum, aimed at reducing class sizes, put before voters, even though the mayor’s Charter Revision Commission will also have questions on the ballot this November. The city argued that a state law allowed a second referendum to be bumped, but the justice ruled that the so-called “bumping provision” was unconstitutional in this case.

Leonie Haimson, a mother of a child at P.S. 41 and chairperson of Class Size Matters, has said that class size limits would ultimately be for the voters to decide. But she said that Class Size Matters would likely recommend the same limits that were passed in a similar referendum in Florida: classes no bigger than 18 students for kindergarten through third grade, 22 students for grades four through seven, with the rest at 25.