Today's news -- December 15, 2017





Proposals on term limits, superintendents move ahead

Despite pushback from the people who would be most affected, two proposed constitutional amendments aiming to change the governance of Florida public school districts gained support from a second committee of the Constitution Revision Commission on Thursday. The proposals to limit school board members to eight consecutive years in office, and to end the election of superintendents, next head to the full commission for consideration whether to place them on the 2018 ballot. They already moved through the commission's education committee. To get before voters, they still require 22  votes from the commission. To pass, they would need 60 percent support at the polls. Collier County School Board member Erika Donalds shepherded both recommendations through the Local Government Committee, which she chairs. She cast the measures as ways to end political service on school boards as a career, while promoting the superintendency as a profession rather than a political post. She downplayed opposition from long-serving school board members and elected superintendents, suggesting they had personal interests that clouded their judgment. "Term limits have overwhelming support by members of the public, and very little support by elected officials," Donalds said at one point. Those officials argued that the proposals aimed to reduce local control of local schools, and that the need was not there. "I don't understand the reason this is being brought forth. It's not a problem," Bay County Superintendent Bill Husfelt said of the elected superintendents proposal. "People don't want to give up their right to vote. I would urge you not to do this." Clay County political activist Travis Christensen said the voters in his county already held a vote whether to appoint their superintendent, and it failed. The law provides for other counties to do the same, he noted. Ruth Melton, director of advocacy for the Florida School Boards Association, argued that term limits also are unnecessary for board members. Over the past four election cycles, she said, 40 percent of board seats have resulted in member turnover. "We believe very strongly that voters have already imposed a natural term limit," Melton told the committee. Such positions gained some traction on the panel. Indian River County commissioner Bob Solari opposed both measures, saying he supports local control, not centralization and homogenization at the state level. He suggested that the CRC should focus on more significant issues that need resolution, noting that too many proposals before voters could hurt all of them. Others on the committee pushed the measures forward. Florida A&M University trustee Nicole Washington, for instance, said she fundamentally agreed with the idea of term limits to keep fresh perspectives on school boards. She did call for clarification on how the limits would be implemented, and whether they would be retroactive — an issue that caused much confusion. Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco cast the only other opposing vote, against the superintendent item, as the two proposals moved on. The CRC plans to hold more public hearings around the state in early 2018, giving interested parties more opportunities to speak out. Earlier in the day, the commission's Education Committee held a two-hour session, where it heard reports on issues but voted on no proposals. One idea that did get universally panned during the conversation, though, was the notion of commemorating school start dates in the constitution. "I would certainly question the wisdom of that," Donalds said, adding that the issue generates more parent interest locally than just about any other that school boards deal with. The issue is best left to lawmakers, who properly assign some flexible guidelines and then leave the matter to districts, said Patricia Levesque, CEO of Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education. The committee had planned a conversation on the mission and intent of public education, as defined in the constitution. That idea gained relevance this week, as an appellate court ruled the language sufficiently vague to determine whether its goals of uniformity and and efficiency were being carried out. But the discussion didn't get off the ground, as staff brought a report on colleges that was only tangentially relevant. Members said they liked the language in the Massachusetts constitution preamble, and asked to bring back the topic for future debate over "what Article IX should look like" before they conclude their business. The committees are scheduled to reconvene January 12.


Social studies teacher seeks Pasco School Board seat (USEP mentioned)


Hillsborough bus drivers now fighting for pay raise (Iran Alicea quoted)


Most districts reapply for Schools of Hope grant


Education leaders mull how they'll pay for Puerto Rican students


Five years after Sandy Hook, the victims have not been forgotten


The legacy of Newtown: Lockdowns, active-shooter training and school security


Here’s a model for reform that looks vastly different from DeVos’ vision


Lawmakers want college free speech rules amid First Amendment flareups


Community college bill worries education officials


Tax for graduate students killed, student loan interest deduction saved in bill


Pasco-Hernando State College faculty to consider unionizing (Caitlin Gille quoted)


DeVos hit with two lawsuits in one day over backlog of student debt relief claims


Court says lawsuit over new justices must wait until Scott makes his pick


Court records shed light on Scott administration sexual harassment settlements


Speaker bashes special interests but spends their money lavishly


Companies profit from undocumented laborers, dump them after injuries


Hurricane state Republicans demand disaster aid by Christmas


Hurricane Irma debris cleanup close to finished in South Florida


Congress should help Puerto Rico -- not hurt it


As deadline looms, Floridians have extra time to sign up for Obamacare coverage


A journey through a land of extreme poverty: Welcome to America


Republicans despise the working class




The GOP’s legislative lemons


Republican tax bill faces new uncertainty ahead of expected vote


The GOP tax bill may be the worst piece of legislation in modern history


A feast for regulatory parasites


Millions of children could lose health coverage starting next month


The math on passing the Republican tax bill keeps getting more complex


With billions at stake in tax debate, lobbyists played hardball


Rubio to vote against tax bill if child credit isn't expanded for low-income families


Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes


Trump says “very sure” Rubio will vote “yes”


One last chance for Collins to reject bad GOP tax bill


Music promoter dangled possible Putin meeting for Trump during campaign


House interview with longtime Trump aide fuels tension on intelligence panel


The Russia facts are hiding in plain sight


Let’s be clear on what Republicans are really saying about the Mueller probe


Bondi's Rosenstein defense gets pushback during Hannity interview


Democrats want to know why Justice Department released FBI texts


Senator: Comey’s remarks on Clinton probe heavily edited


Trump super PAC quietly launches new ad campaign targeting Mueller


Doubting intelligence, Trump pursues Putin and leaves threat unchecked


“Are you normal?” Putin asks U.S. Congress in annual news gathering


Trump thanks Putin for remarks on strong economy


FCC repeals net neutrality rules


The FCC’s net neutrality rules are gone. Now this is what could happen to the Web.


Gutting net neutrality is Trump administration’s most brutal blow to democracy yet


New York attorney general to sue FCC over net neutrality repeal


Yoho: Net neutrality vote does not pose a threat to the Internet


The Supreme Court gets a second chance to quash gerrymandering


Trump judicial nominee can’t answer basic questions about the law in hearing


Longtime Tampa federal judge plans 2018 retirement from regular service


Trump pledges to cut regulations down to 1960 levels


That giant stack of paper Trump stood next to? A little too giant.


More than 700 employees have left the EPA since Pruitt took over


Trump environmental officials are keeping tight rein over FOIA requests


Homeland Security senior adviser promoted birtherism


A new sisterhood of Trump’s accusers pushes for action


Huckabee’s spectacular false equivalency


With new focus on sexual misconduct, Democrats take aim at Trump


Gillibrand and the whiplash of #MeToo


Omarosa Manigault: “I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable”


CBS’ Garrett on working in Trump’s White House of “disdain and deflection”



 0 user(s) rated this page
Login to leave a comment
No Comments yet