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School Boards Ask High Court to Block Last Session's Controversial Education Law

November 14, 2017 - 5:30pm

Raising the prospect of “irreversible damage” to the public- education system, nine school boards want the Florida Supreme Court to block a massive education law approved in May.

The school boards late Monday filed a constitutional challenge at the Supreme Court to the bill, which has become known in the education world by the shorthand HB 7069. The 274-page bill, spearheaded by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, dealt with a wide range of issues, including controversial subjects such as charter schools and teacher bonuses.

The challenge contends that the law violates part of the Florida Constitution that requires legislation to deal with single subjects. It alleges HB 7069 is a “prototypical example of logrolled legislation” --- legislation that puts together a patchwork of issues.

School districts also have filed two lawsuits challenging HB 7069 in Leon County circuit court. But the new case filed directly to the Supreme Court involves different legal grounds and contends that immediate action is needed to block the law from moving forward.

“Waiting for a trial-court determination and its subsequent appellate review will allow irreversible damage to the function of the public education system to occur throughout the state of Florida,” the lawsuit said.

Plaintiffs named in the case are the school boards of Alachua, Bay, Broward, Hamilton, Lee, Polk, St. Lucie, Volusia and Wakulla counties.

In arguing the Supreme Court should take up the case, the school boards are seeking what is known as a “writ of quo warranto” finding that the Legislature violated the Constitution because of the single-subject issue. They also are seeking what are known as “writs of mandamus” that, in part, would direct Education Commissioner Pam Stewart to stop carrying out the law and direct Secretary of State Ken Detzner to expunge the law from official records.

When the bill was passed on the final day of the spring legislative session, Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, called it "the greatest educational K-12 policy that we've passed in the history of the state."

But the bill faced fierce opposition from school districts, in part because it was released just days before the end of the session and because of some of the changes included. Perhaps the highest-profile issues involved a plan known as “schools of hope,” which is designed to lead to charter schools locating near academically struggling public schools, and expansion of the state's Best and Brightest teacher bonus program.

The lawsuit filed at the Supreme Court said school boards would be required to enter into contracts with schools of hope, adding urgency to the constitutional issues being resolved.

“For every day that goes by, the number of schools created, teachers hired, and students transferred will grow,” the lawsuit said. “For every day that goes by, it will become more and more expensive, if not impossible, to reverse the effects of this legislation. The education of these students and the employment of these teachers are at risk. The education system and economy of Florida are intricately tied up in this broad legislation.”

A Corcoran spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon.


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Don't you suppose the School Boards are against this because it will reduce the number of students into charter or private schools? Why do you suppose the parents prefer to send their children to charter and private schools? Maybe it's because the public schools no longer do a good job. Discipline is out which creates an environment where the teacher has to spend more time getting their attention than being able to teach. You have to ask, what do home schooled children do better than those going to public school? Why does the School Board insist on a special election in the Spring rather than having one in the general election in the Fall? Even though it costs taxpayers over $300,000 more to have a special election? We know the answer.

Then maybe, just maybe, the School Boards could ACTUALLY TEACH a "reduced number of students" successfully... IF IF IF "Charter & Private" schools were allowed to function in a "parallel fashion" in Florida. YOU might think that you are but a few "pressured & put upon" teachers in a failing system,... BUT, YOU are NOT..., RATHER, YOU are "legion" !

as well they should. This cash grab by Corcoran to pay back his charter school buddies will send our school system even further down the tubes. We currently sit at 23 in the world in education, down 7 from just 10 years ago when the legislature starting meddling in the school systems. #1? Finland. No standardized testing, 6 hour school day, no homework, recess, lots of creative electives, no charter schools and probably most importantly, no political interference whatsoever...

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This is nothing more than a "sleight of hand" movement to sustain ineffective 'school boards', counter productive 'teacher Unions' and Florida's mythic Board of Education. Just when Florida begins to make progress in educating its ever growing student population, the "naysayers clump-up to reverse it". (It's just like the "Godfather movie" where Al Pacino laments: "Just when I think I'm out,...They pull me back !") . Florida MUST educate its students to compete on the "world stage": Florida MUST STOP preparing its students for "low level part-time employment" in the "tourist industry". Our students MUST be prepared to compete; and the ONLY way to do that is with dedicated, well trained (certified, credentialed, and titled) TEACHERS (In other words: "Drain the Educational swamp !) Florida has recently become the "Second most populace State in the Union", and we MUST "live up" to THAT attendant mandate in ALL possible ways and expectations....!

Your comment is filled with empty analogies, movie quotes, metaphors and misinformation (our economy might be based on tourism but our schools prepare students to do much more), but the one thing you say of substance is that we need "dedicated, well trained (certified, credentialed, and titled) TEACHERS." I could not agree more. But the move to privatize our Florida education system through charter schools and funding private schools through tax-credit scholarships, does exactly the opposite. Because of the low pay and few-to-no benefits charter teachers are usually young, inexperienced and often teaching out-of-field. Private schools receiving tax-credit scholarships do not have to be credentialed at all and we cannot compare the educational results since they are not required to take the same state tests as our traditional public schools and charters. There is much that needs to change in our public education system, but HB 7069 moves in the opposite direction.

Another teacher, union representative, local education board member heard from...

why don't you produce some of your facts to support all this jibberish? Better yet, haul ass back to NY...

Hi "Fart",..still wafting around I see. ( Folks: "Fart" here is the "perfect example" of the lower end of the student population produced by Florida's "school system"...)

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