Measure would embed state colleges in Constitution


Florida’s state and community college system would become part of the state Constitution under a measure advanced by the Constitution Revision Commission on Wednesday.

In a 26-8 vote, the CRC voted to send the measure (Proposal 83) to the Style and Drafting Committee for further review.

The proposal, sponsored by Commissioner Nicole Washington of Miami Beach, would give constitutional authority to the existing system for the 28 schools, including the use of local boards of trustees to oversee each school.

The proposal would also leave the system under the control of the Florida Board of Education.

Washington and other proponents of the measure said it would give colleges equal legal footing with state universities and the kindergarten-through-high-school system, which are authorized by the Constitution.

Commissioner Tom Lee of Thonotosassa objected to embedding the statewide governance system in the Constitution, arguing that the decision should be left to the discretion of the Legislature.

But an effort to amend Washington’s proposal to take out the Board of Education language was rejected in a voice vote.

If approved by the Style and Drafting Committee, the measure will return to the full 37-member commission, where it must gain at least 22 votes to be placed on the November general-election ballot.