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CRC Could Propose Amendment to Quell Lawsuits Filed by School Districts

October 4th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
Lawsuits by state school districts trying to derail new charter school legislation may be at risk.
The Constitutional Revision Commission is likely to  propose an amendment to invalidate any current and future legal challenges by school districts.
HB 7069 was passed by the Legislature in May, packed with provisions opposed by many public education advocates.
At the top of the list, a requirement school districts share local tax revenue with privately owned charter schools.
“That’s an issue that local school board members believe is their authority to decide,” said Andrea Messina with the Florida School Boards Association.
Palm Beach county is the first to file suit against the State Board of Education and the DOE.
Districts argue the law unconstitutionally takes away local districts ability to dictate how to spend tax dollars.
But The law suit could be in jeopardy.
The Constitutional Revision Commission is expected to propose an amendment to the constitution, giving charters the same rights as other public schools.
The CRC’s 37 members is packed with with people who make their money from charter schools and lawmakers who voted for the controversial legislation.
At the commission meeting Monday, we asked CRC Commissioner and CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education Patricia Levesque if she thought pro-charter amendments would be on the table.
“I think what’s really important is that we ensure that the constitution represents all students,” said Levesque.
We also attempted to interview Marva Johnson, Chair of the Florida Board of Education following her for more than a block.
CRC Chairman Carlos Beruff says its too soon to speculate what the 37 member commission will do.
“We’ll see in a couple of months what filters through the process and the committee process,” said Beruff.
If the CRC puts an amendment on the ballot to combat lawsuits from school districts it would have to be approved by 6 out of ten voters to become law.
At least 14 other school boards have signed on to a pending lawsuit against HB 7069.

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