Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Gradebook

Florida parents deserve choices for school board, lawmakers say

They don’t necessarily agree on what that choice means, though.
State senators Dennis Baxley, left, and Bill Montford, right, have differing views on legislation to ask voters whether to impose limits on school board member terms. [The Florida Channel]
State senators Dennis Baxley, left, and Bill Montford, right, have differing views on legislation to ask voters whether to impose limits on school board member terms. [The Florida Channel]
Published Feb. 10

A bill that would ask voters whether they want to impose term limits on Florida’s school board members continues to advance in the state Legislature, with another Senate committee voting narrowly Monday to support the measure.

The issue, lawmakers said, in many ways boils down to a matter of choice.

But they weren’t talking about the same thing.

Sen. Dennis Baxley, who sponsored a similar measure in 2019, introduced the legislation to the Senate Education Committee as a way to create more competitive elections.

“The power of incumbency is well known,” the Ocala Republican said, suggesting that many potentially interested candidates do not run because they worry about the uphill battle of challenging a long-term incumbent.

That’s unfair to the voters, Baxley said, implying that term limits would open the doors. “People do want choices.”

Sen. Bill Montford, the committee’s ranking Democrat, agreed that families deserve options. But he didn’t mean the same thing that Baxley was talking about.

The former Leon County schools superintendent made clear he considered removing names from the ballot simply based on years of service was limiting. He suggested that supporters of term limits only want choice when it suits them.

He brought up the idea the variety of academic options provided to families, such as charters and tax credit scholarships and home schooling, and said those have made education better for many students.

“We truly believe that parents can make the best choices for their children," Montford said. "I think those same parents can make the best choice for who will represent them on the school board.”

He joined the two other Democrats on the eight-member panel in opposing the legislation, for which the rest of the commentary remained largely the same as in past years and previous committee stops.

Related: Florida lawmakers renew push for school board term limits

The Senate version next heads to the Rules Committee, where the concept died a year ago. A companion bill is moving through the House.

If approved by three-fifths of each chamber, the question of limiting school board terms to eight consecutive years would go to voters statewide in November.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

  1. AMIkids in Pinellas Park has been shut down after two staffers were arrested in connection with the injury and neglect of a 12-year-old student.
  2. First Lady Casey DeSantis talks with students during the Hope for Healing a mental and substance abuse initiative held Roland Park K-8 School in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, May 16, 2019. Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said state officials worked closely with DeSantis to craft the new rule. OCTAVIO JONES | Times
  3. In this Feb. 14, 2018, photo, students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland after a shooter opened fire on the campus.
  4. Pinellas County School Board member Carol Cook, left, celebrates her reelection to her fifth term in 2016. If ultimately approved, a term limits proposal would force Florida's school board members out after two consecutive terms.
  5. State Rep. Anthony Sabatini fields questions on the House floor on Feb. 19, 2020, about his proposal to ask voters to limit school board member terms.
  6. Chicken and vegetable dumplings with soy sauce were offered to students to test during the 2nd Annual Student Food Connection taste-testing, Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at Pinellas Technical College. Twenty-eight new food items were tested and rated.  Some will be added to next year's school menus.
  7. Patrick Suiters, 10, left, and Gabriel Stanford, 9, both fourth-graders at San Jose Elementary School in Dunedin, fill out a survey after tasting falafel tots and nuggets during the 2nd Annual Student Food Connection taste test at Pinellas Technical College. About 120 students tasted and rated 28 new food items that could be added to school breakfast and lunch menus next year.
  8. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
  9. The Pinellas County school system is offering driver education camps to hundreds of students like this one over the summer. The program will be held over two sessions at nine high school campuses across the county.
  10. Incoming Superintendent Addison Davis (center) and School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) sign Davis' contract with the Hillsborough County School District after it was unanimously approved by the school board on February 18, 2020.
  11. Incoming Hillsborough School Superintendent Addison Davis (center), School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) and the other board members pose as Davis signs his contract with the district on Tuesday night. The board unanimously approved the contract beforehand.
  12. Jarvis Delon West was arrested on child neglect charges after he didn't report an employee at AMI Kids who slammed a boy to the ground, according to police.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement