Advertisement
  1. Gradebook

School board term limits move in Florida Senate, with some hesitation

A few lawmakers say they have concerns about the proposal.
Published Apr. 10

A measure that would let Florida voters decide whether to impose eight-year term limits on school board members advanced through its second state Senate committee on Wednesday.

During debate in the Education Committee, though, a handful of senators said they weren’t yet sold on the bill (SJR 274).

And because a three-fifths vote is needed for adoption of resolutions proposing constitutional amendments, as this would be, the individual questions by members could provide critical. So far, just one Democrat -- Sen. Daryl Rouson -- has signed on as a cosponsor, meaning if all 23 Republicans back the item, it would squeak by the 40-member chamber.

But at least two Republicans indicated they had reservations, and asked sponsor Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, to work with them as the bill moves ahead to the Rules Committee and perhaps to the floor.

“I do have concerns, and the more I talk to people, the more concerns I have,” said Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville.

He did not spell out his issues, but said without changes, he might not support the idea any further.

Sen. David Simmons, R-Longwood, said he shared the views raised by some opponents, who suggested that the proposal would take away local control over who serves on the county school boards. He also said he thought a 12-year limit would be more palatable than an eight-year one.

“That’s a reasonable number,” Simmons suggested.

Baxley said he didn’t necessarily disagree. But he offered that the “eight is enough” movement appeared fairly clear in pushing for two four-year terms.

He added that no one is asking dedicated community servants to stop serving. They just should take a break, Baxley said, give up the power of incumbency and, if they desire, try to come back again.

“The point is letting go,” Baxley said, noting he took a three-year break between his terms in the state House and Senate.

Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, meanwhile contended that the debate missed the point.

“'We can’t get them out’ means the minority can’t get out who a majority wants to keep in office,” Montford said. “We talk about choice. What’s wrong with giving voters a choice?”

The bill narrowly survived the committee, by a 5-3 vote. Its companion in the House has seen stronger bipartisan support, and is next headed to the floor.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Sandra Gero, a regional search associate at Ray and Associates, hosts a meeting at the Middleton High School auditorium and gathers public comments on what people are looking for for the next Hillsborough County School Superintendent on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 in Tampa. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    Using public meetings and a survey, they’re painting a picture of the ideal school leader.
  2. Jeff Eakins and MaryEllen Elia, Hillsborough's last two superintendents, were hired from inside the school system. So have all others since 1967. Times staff
    Go to the school district website before 8 a.m. Monday to state your case.
  3. Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, urges the Florida Board of Education to hold schools accountable for teaching the Holocaust and African-American history, as required by lawmakers in 1994. The board was considering a rule on the matter at its Sept. 20, 2019, meeting in Jacksonville. The Florida Channel
    School districts will have to report how they are providing the instruction required in Florida law.
  4. The Pasco County school district would rezone the Seven Oaks subdivision from the Wiregrass Ranch High feeder pattern to the Cypress Creek High feeder pattern, beginning in the 2020-21 school year. Pasco County school district
    The Seven Oaks subdivision is the primary target for rezoning.
  5. Fortify Florida is a new app that allows for anonymous reporting of suspected school threats. Florida Department of Education
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  6. Pasco County school superintendent Kurt Browning says Fortify Florida, the new state-sponsored app that allows students to report potential threats, is "disrupting the education day" because the callers are anonymous, many of the tips are vague and there's no opportunity to get more information from tipsters. "I have an obligation to provide kids with a great education," Browning said. "I cannot do it with this tool, because kids are hiding behind Fortify Florida." JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |
    Vague and anonymous tips often waste law enforcement’s time and disrupt the school day, says Kurt Browning, president of Florida’s superintendents association.
  7. Rep. Susan Valdes, D-Tampa, during a Feb. 7, 2019, meeting of the House PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee. [The Florida Channel]
    ‘One test should not determine the rest of your life,’ Rep. Susan Valdes says.
  8. The Florida House Education Committee focuses on early education in its first meeting of the 2020 session. The Florida Channel
    School security and early learning get top billing in the first committee meetings of the looming 2020 session.
  9. This image from a Pinellas County Schools video shows an armed police officer running to respond to a fictional active shooter.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  10. Representatives from the Pasco County school district and the United School Employees of Pasco discuss salary and benefits during negotiations on Sept. 18, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff Writer
    The proposal is short on details, with officials saying they want to work through specifics during negotiations.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement