Justices send school financing challenge back to trial courtby John Kennedy | September 11th, 2012
A lawsuit challenging whether Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature are meeting their constitutional duty to finance a high-quality public school system headed back to the trial court Tuesday after the state Supreme Court denied reviewing the case.
The lawsuit was filed in 2009 in Leon County Circuit Court by Citizens for Strong Schools, a nonprofit organization.
The First District Court of Appeal had narrowly ruled that the case could go forward in lower court. But Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, argued that the Supreme Court should review the decision — which justices denied Tuesday.
The case is widely seen as a key challenge to whether Florida schools are appropriately financed, based on a 1998 constitutional amendment approved overwhelmingly by voters and backed by the Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union.
Here are the Florida Supreme Court’s filings in the case: http://bit.ly/yKXEwx
The amendment demands a uniform system of free public schools by requiring the state make adequate provision for an efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system. The broad language of the amendment became the grounds for justices throwing out former Gov. Jeb Bush’s private school voucher program in 2006.
The high court’s 5-2 ruling said it is unconstitutional to use tax money to send students to private schools.