Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida's education system appears headed for trial

Florida's education system is a step closer to being put on trial.

Leon County Circuit Judge Jackie L. Fulford has ruled that a potentially far-reaching lawsuit filed in November by parent groups can proceed, though no time line has been set and a potential trial isn't likely until at least next year.

The suit filed by the Orlando-based Fund Education Now and other plaintiffs charges that Florida is violating the state Constitution by not pouring enough money into schools and putting too much emphasis on high-stakes testing. Backed by Mills and other prominent Democrats, the suit blasts away at a sweeping array of education policies put into place by former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush and kept largely intact by Republican-turned-independent Gov. Charlie Crist.

The judge on Friday denied a motion to dismiss the suit that was filed by the defendants, including the state Board of Education and Florida Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith. The plaintiffs were notified of the order Wednesday.

"This means at some point, you'll get to cover one heck of an interesting trial," said Jon Mills, a former Florida House speaker who is part of the legal team representing the plaintiffs.

A spokeswoman for the state attorney general's office - which is representing the defendants - declined comment, as did T. Willard Fair, chair of the state Board of Education.

"We are reviewing our options at this point," Department of Education spokesman Tom Butler wrote in an email. "No decisions yet on what our next steps will be."

A similar suit filed in 1996 was initially dismissed by a lower court and ultimately dismissed by the Florida Supreme Court. But in 1998, 71 percent of Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment that says educating children is a "paramount duty" of the state and the state shall make "adequate provision" for a school system that is "uniform, efficient, safe, secure and high quality."

"The Florida Constitution provides judicially discoverable and manageable standards that this Court can apply to resolve the issues of this case," Fulford wrote. She shot down defense arguments that the plaintiffs don't have standing and that legislative actions regarding education are immune to court review.

The order says the defendants now have 20 days to file a response to the complaint.

Ron Matus can be reached at matus@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8873.

Florida's education system appears headed for trial 08/26/10 [Last modified: Thursday, August 26, 2010 9:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What ever happened to the Zika epidemic?

    Health

    Remember Zika?

    The last time Gov. Rick Scott warned Floridians about the potential threat of the mosquito-borne virus was in July, when he urged residents to still be vigilant against bug bites and standing water. At the time, doctors and researchers were bracing for what was supposed to be another active summer …

    Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, responsible for transmitting Zika, sit in a petri dish at the Fiocruz Institute in Recife, Brazil. Cases of the virus are down dramatically this year in Florida, the result of awareness efforts, experts say. But the public, they add, should not let its guard down. [Associated Press]
  2. Pinellas licensing board needs cash. Will the county give it any?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– The grand jury that said Pinellas County should not take over the troubled construction licensing board also said the county should bail out the agency before it goes broke in 2018.

    Pinellas County Commission chair Janet Long isn't keen on the idea of the county loaning money to keep the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board afloat. The county has no say over the independent agency, which could run out of funding in 2018. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  3. Is the Bundt cake back? How retro baked goods are becoming trendy again

    Cooking

    Once there were grunts and slumps, buckles and brown betties. Oh, and pandowdies and sonkers. In the olden days, people routinely made angel food cakes, tomato soup cakes and hummingbird cakes. These were not Duncan Hines mixes, but rather confections made from scratch following yellowed and stained recipes in your …

    Nothing Bundt Cakes in Tampa offers a variety of options, from tiny “bundtinis” and 10-inch cakes that serve 18 to 20 people. Core flavors include lemon, marble, red velvet and chocolate-chocolate chip, with featured flavors like confetti.
  4. Craig Butz, executive director of Pepin Academies and former professional hockey player, died in a crash with a boat Saturday. His daughter Teagan, 4, remained in critical condition Sunday afternoon. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   TIMES, 2013]
  5. Two boys in critical condition after Largo crash

    Accidents

    LARGO — A 7-year-old boy was thrown from a car in a head-on crash on Starkey Road, and both he and a 6-year-old boy were in critical condition Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.