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Voucher Fight Moves to Court

June 13th, 2008 by flanews

A Florida teachers union is suing to keep two school voucher amendments off the November ballot. The State Supreme Court ruled religious school vouchers unconstitutional in 2006. As Whitney Ray tells us, the union wants to keep voters from having the final say on the issue.

Here it Here: Teachers Union Files Suit To Keep Amendments Off Ballot

An amendment to provide state funding for kids in failing schools to go to private and religious institutions is slated for the November ballot. The Florida Supreme Court ruled school vouchers unconstitutional in 2006.

The Taxation and Budget Reform Commission resurrected the issue in the form of two constitutional amendments headed to the November ballot.

A Lawyer for the Florida Education Association filed a suit Friday asking the Secretary of State to keep amendment 7 and 9 off the ballot. Attorney Ron Meyer said the amendments are deceptive.

Theyre hiding the ball. Theyre trying to confuse the public, this is purposeful, because the public wont support school vouchers, said Meyer.

The voucher program is tied to a popular school spending requirement mandating 65 percent of education funds be spent in the classroom. Florida Education Association President Andy Ford says schools are already spending at least 65 percent in the classroom. Ford said if the amendments pass schools would have to compete for students.

What it could be setting up is a system where the state would assign a dollar amount per student and then disperse check individually to parents and let the go shopping for their own school, said Ford.

The Florida Catholic Coalition wrote the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission in support of the amendments. The statement said the Catholic Church has a long history of educating people regardless of their faith, and theyd welcome state funding.

If the lawsuit fails the issue will be left up to voters who will have to approve the amendments by 60 percent. A recent Quinnipiac Poll suggest that 65 percent of voters would cast ballots for the school voucher program in order pass a measure to mandate 65 percent of education funds be spent in the classroom.

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