Letter sent to House Education and Employment Committee members and select legislators:
PCS for CS/HB 51: School Board Term Limits & Alternate Charter Authorizer Requires Two Constitutional Amendments!
PCS for CS/HB 51 is up in House Education and Employment tomorrow. Please consider the following, as you face debate and votes on PCS for CS/HB 5 and its related bills in committee and on the floor.
As written, this bill and its companion, SB 1028, are unconstitutional. Both bills pre-empt the constitutionally granted authority of duly elected school board members by creating an alternate charter school authorizer. PCS for CS/HB 51 adds the component of setting school board term limits. Both of these issues must appear on a ballot, put to a statewide vote and receive 60% in order to pass.
- No citizen is requesting either of these measures.
- The Florida Legislature should not propose legislation to pre-empt the constitutional authority of school boards to the local control of school boards.
- School Board term limits should be decided and voted on in local communities, not mandated by the state.
You should recall that in 2018, the politically appointed Constitution Review Commission tried the very same thing when it proposed Amendment 8 be placed on a statewide ballot. This confusing combination of three different concepts directly reflect the 2021 legislative agenda found in PCS for CS/HB 51/SB1028. It contained a deceptive mix of alternate charter school authorizer, school board term limits and mandated Civics. In August 2018, Judge John Cooper ruled that Amendment 8 must be removed from the ballot because it “fails to inform voters of the chief purpose and effect of the proposal.” On September 7, 2018, the Supreme Court upheld Judge Cooper’s ruling, declaring that Amendment 8 could not appear on the ballot.
The issues contained in HB 51 and its related bills have all the earmarks of a Charter School Train bill. We urge you to vote no on PCS for CS/HB 51 and its package of related bills designed to tick the boxes of a pre-emptive charter expansion agenda, regardless of public need.
Marie-Claire Leman, Parent, Public School Parent,Fund Education Now 850.240.1565
Kathleen Oropeza, Public School Parent, Fund Education Now, 407.234.8948
Sue Woltanski, Public School Parent, Monroe County School Board, D-5, 305.240.1565
Related bills on the agenda tomorrow, 4.15.21, in House Education and Employment are:
HJR PCS 1461 – setting school board term limits
HB 1061 – Schools of Hope – up for vote 4.15.21 House Education and Employment