(Flagler County School Board member Colleen Conklin on Tuesday evening asked her colleagues to consider suing the Legislature and the governor for not abiding by a constitutional mandate to adequately fund local education. The board set a meeting on April 19, at 1:30 p.m., to discuss the matter. Following is the text of Conklin’s remarks to the board.)
I ask for your consideration to engage our school district in a legal suit against the Florida State House, Senate and Governors Office on failure to comply with Article IX of the State Constitution.
Let me provide some historical context as this has been explored before.
In 1995, a group filed a complaint against then-Governor Lawton Chiles. The lower courts dismissed the case as it failed to determine the meaning of adequacy. Advocates turned to citizens to determine their desire to support education in the state of Florida through strengthening the constitutional language.
In 1998, voters approved an amendment to strengthen the educational clause in the state constitution. The new language made Florida’s education clause some of the strongest in the nation: “The education of children is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida. It is, therefore, a paramount duty of the state to make adequate provision for the education of all children residing within its borders. Adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education…”
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