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How Will Education Lawsuit Impact Funding Boosts for Under-Preforming Schools?

October 19th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
The list of districts suing the state has grown to 14.
Others are still considering joining  the suit against the state.
“You have larger districts and you have smaller districts so it’s really a good representation of the school districts across Florida,” said Executive Director of the Florida School Boards Association Andrea Messina.
The new lawsuit includes two main objections.
The first is the fact the new law interferes with districts local control over how to spend tax dollar by requiring districts to share a portion of the revenue with charter schools.
“At the expense of public schools being able to build up their infrastructure, repair their roofs,” said Joanne McCall, President of the Florida Education Association.
Also, under the legislation some charters don’t have to answer to local school boards, which districts say violates a constitutional requirement for all public schools to be uniform.

“If I was a school board member I’d be mad as heck too and I’d want to know why aren’t they being held to the same standards,” said McCall.

The lawsuit came just days before 11 low performing schools in the state were approved for a $2000 per-student funding boost through the same education legislation.
Only one county involved in the suit, Bay County, is also receiving money from the legislation to improve two low performing schools.
14 additional schools have yet to be chosen for the funding boost.
Education Advocates hope the lawsuit doesn’t impact who’s chosen.

“What we’ve got to make sure is that we have the funding that they need in different areas to ensure that all of the students, all of the students no matter the zip-code are going to get the education that they need and deserve,” said Messina.

The lawsuit elevates tensions between the state and school districts.
“It would be my hope that we could have some legislative fixes to this,” said Messina. “I’m not sure that that is going to happen.”
State lawmakers have already voiced opposition to the districts law suit, which could lead to greater scrutiny from lawmakers when they meet in January.
The lawsuit still has a long way to go before its conclusion, which will likely come in the form of a ruling by the Florida Supreme Court.

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