Florida Constitution Revision Commission membership to include state education leaders
The membership of Florida's Constitution Revision Commission continued to shape up Wednesday, as Senate President Joe Negron announced his nine appointments to the panel.
Among his choices were two people with strong influence in state K-12 education matters over the past several years, Patricia Levesque and Don Gaetz. Each have been key proponents of the test-based accountability model launched under former governor Jeb Bush, whose foundation Levesque leads. Levesque, who also served on the state Taxation and Budget Reform Commission in 2007, has been a controversial figure in the state's education circles, with the "reform" movement backing her and others heavily critical of her philosophy.
Gaetz, a former state Senate president, is a previous Okaloosa School Board member and elected superintendent, who chaired several education committees in the Legislature. He was a key advocate of career academies while in the Legislature. Negron lauded Gaetz, who also was a health care executive, for his "relentless commitment to reform, and the ability to collaborate across party lines."
On the higher education front, Negron also appointed Sherry Plymale, a former member of the State Board of Community Colleges and one-time adviser to former education commissioner and lieutenant governor Frank Brogan.
Another education policy leader, former two-term Florida Board of Education member Roberto Martinez, also has been appointed to the commission by Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga. A private attorney and former federal prosecutor, Martinez also was a supporter of Jeb Bush's model, who bristled at some later initiatives by governors who followed Bush.
Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran have yet to name their appointments to the commission, which convenes every 20 years to consider possible amendments to the state constitution. At least three school district leaders, including Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning, have applied to serve.