Today's news -- August 3, 2017



Suing state over HB 7069 is understandable move *

Sometimes you have to stand up for principles and principals. So, unfortunate as it is to see taxpayers supporting each side in a lawsuit, Lee County School Board members made the right decision last week to go to court against the state over approval of House Bill 7069. Lee board members unanimously agreed to join the collaborative suit, initially committing $25,000 of legal fees. A half-dozen school boards in Florida voted in July to challenge the Legislature’s passage of the measure, with five agreeing to join in one suit. Meanwhile, the Palm Beach School Board wants to pursue a separate filing to make defending HB 7069 more difficult on the state, the Sun-Sentinel reported. Sunshine State News recently reported that about 15 other school boards across Florida are to consider this month whether to join the collaborative lawsuit. Collier’s School Board will discuss the matter this month, despite strenuous objections by two of its members. HB 7069, signed in June by Gov. Rick Scott, was a sweeping measure pushed by House leadership that blended various unrelated education bills into one 275-page concoction. Despite some pluses in HB 7069, our editorial board has cited its many objections to the measure, including the way it was secretly compiled with so many disconnected ideas and then jammed through at session’s end. We’ve objected to diverting taxpayer dollars from capital projects needed in traditional public schools to charter campus operators based on their student enrollment. Local school boards should decide if specific capital expenditures on any campus warrant taxpayer dollars. Now, various districts’ legal expenses to pursue the lawsuit as plaintiffs and the state’s costs for attorneys to defend HB 7069 both fall to taxpayers. We’d blame the Legislature’s flawed actions for causing this battle.


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