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Lawsuit filed in dispute over HB 7069, escalating political war

Palm Beach County sued, and more districts are likely to, also. Charter school advocates vow to “aggressively” defend the law.
Palm Beach County Public Schools is suing the Florida Department of Education and other state education officials over the constitutionality of House Bill 7069, a controversial and sweeping education reform law the Republican-led Legislature passed in the spring. [Miami Herald file photo]
Palm Beach County Public Schools is suing the Florida Department of Education and other state education officials over the constitutionality of House Bill 7069, a controversial and sweeping education reform law the Republican-led Legislature passed in the spring. [Miami Herald file photo]
Published Oct. 2, 2017

The legal war has officially begun over a highly controversial, charter school-friendly education law Republican state lawmakers pushed through last spring.

Palm Beach County School Board members filed a lawsuit this week challenging the constitutionality of one part of House Bill 7069. Another, potentially more far-reaching lawsuit with the backing of at least 14 other school districts — including Miami-Dade and Broward counties — is still expected in the weeks ahead.

Meanwhile, charter school advocates are rallying their forces, too — vowing to fight in defense of HB 7069 in the courtroom and also on the political battlefield.

Among the weapons they’re preparing: A coordinated public relations campaign highlighting school districts’ spending, and fielding — and funding — challengers to school board members statewide who face re-election in 2018 and who have been critical of HB 7069.

“We’re developing a plan and we’re going to be very aggressive,” said Ralph Arza, a former Miami-Dade Republican lawmaker who is now the government affairs director for the Florida Charter School Alliance.

More here.