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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida School Boards Association drops out of tax credit scholarship lawsuit



The Florida School Boards Association has decided not to appeal a ruling against the group's challenge to Florida's tax credit scholarship program for low-income youths.

"The board of directors voted to abandon the lawsuit," FSBA government relations director Ruth Melton told the Gradebook on Wednesday.

That move comes three weeks after Leon County judge George Reynolds III threw out the case, saying the FSBA and other plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the lawsuit. He explained that the way the program is funded, it does not use state money at all.

"Because plaintiffs do not challenge a program funded by legislative appropriations, plaintiffs do not have taxpayer standing to bring this action," he wrote.

A lawyer for families that use the scholarships and are defendants in the case praised the FSBA's move.

"It is truly in the best interest of not just the scholarship children, but all schoolchildren-including those in the public schools," attorney Howard Coker said in a released statement.

This action does not mean the lawsuit is dead, though. The Florida Education Association, also a party to the suit, has yet to announce whether it will continue with an appeal. FEA leaders have suggested they want to have the issue decided on its merits, and not on standing.

The deadline for filing an appeal is about a week off.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 6:16pm]


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