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. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh

    Soccer

    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case

    Crime

    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  5. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.