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Judge sets hearing on education amendment

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A Leon County circuit judge will hear arguments Aug. 17 in a dispute about a proposed constitutional amendment that calls for changes in the state’s education system.

Judge John Cooper on Monday scheduled the hearing in the lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters of Florida, which is trying to keep the constitutional amendment off the November ballot.

The amendment was placed on the ballot by the state Constitution Revision Commission and includes three different issues: It would impose an eight-year term limit on school board members. It would require “civic literacy” to be promoted in public schools. And it would allow charter schools and other public education initiatives to be authorized by entities other than local school boards, which now make those decisions.

The lawsuit targets the charter-school part of the proposal and alleges that the ballot wording is misleading.

The lawsuit contends the charter-school provision “was intentionally drafted to be vague” and it concealed the “chief purpose” of the amendment, which is “to eliminate the long-standing, exclusive authority of local elected school boards to operate, control, and supervise all public schools, including charter schools, in their respective school districts.”

The proposal is slated to appear on the November ballot as Amendment 8.