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Charter School Amendment Booted off the Ballot

August 20, 2018 - 3:00pm
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A Leon County circuit judge Monday knocked a proposed education constitutional amendment off the November ballot, saying the wording failed to inform voters of its impact on the creation of charter schools.

The proposed amendment, placed on the ballot by the Constitution Revision Commission, would impose eight-year term limits on school board members and would require the promotion of “civic literacy” in public schools.

But the provision that drew a legal challenge from the League of Women Voters of Florida would have allowed the state to operate and control public schools “not established by the school board,” wording that opponents said would have led to the expansion of charter schools. The proposal was aimed at overturning a 2008 appellate court decision that found the Legislature’s creation of a statewide commission to authorize charter schools was unconstitutional.

“The failure to use the term voters would understand, ‘charter schools,’ as well as the use of a phrase that has no established meaning under Florida law, fails to inform voters of the chief purpose and effect of this proposal,” Circuit Judge John Cooper wrote in a 12-page ruling, removing Amendment 8 from the Nov. 6 ballot.

Cooper called the challenged provision “a significant change” that was not explained by the Amendment 8 ballot summary, which is wording that voters would see when the go to the polls.

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