Teacher union files lawsuit to keep class size amendment off ballotby Dara Kam | July 23rd, 2010
The Florida teachers’ union filed a lawsuit today to keep a constitutional amendment watering down class size restrictions off the ballot in November.
The GOP-dominated legislature put Amendment 8 on the ballot to allow school districts flexibility with constitutionally-mandated class size restrictions voters approved in 2002.
The class sizes have been eased in over time and this year are set to go from school-level averages to individual classroom pupil/teacher limits.
The proposed amendment, if approved by voters in November, would keep the averages at the school level.
But Ron Meyer, the lawyer representing the Florida Education Association and who filed the lawsuit this morning, contends that the amendment is really about stiffing taxpayers by not adequately funding education as the state constitution requires.
Lawmakers failed to put $354 million needed to comply with the class sizes into the budget this year, Meyer said.
The ballot title and summary don’t tell voters that the real aim of the amendment is to cut back on education spending, he accused.
“The failure of the legislature to be honest with parents – to tell them that Amendment 8 cuts funding to public schools which will result in crowded classrooms once again – is what makes this lawsuit necessary,” Meyer said in a press release.
Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat running for governor, said she supports the amendment because it gives flexibility to school districts.
Read the lawsuit here.