Justices set arguments on education amendment


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Moving quickly, the Florida Supreme Court on Monday said it will hear arguments Sept. 5 in a fight about whether a proposed education constitutional amendment should go on the November ballot.

Justices issued an order scheduling the arguments, which will be held at the 4th District Court of Appeal courthouse in West Palm Beach.

The order did not explain why the arguments will be held in South Florida instead of at the Supreme Court building in Tallahassee.

The proposed amendment, placed on the ballot by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, would impose eight-year term limits on school board members and would require the promotion of “civic literacy” in public schools.

But a provision that drew a legal challenge from the League of Women Voters of Florida would allow the state to operate and control public schools “not established by the school board,” wording that opponents said would lead to the expansion of charter schools.

Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper this month sided with the League of Women Voters, ruling that the proposal should not go before voters because of misleading wording.

The state quickly appealed Cooper’s ruling to the 1st District Court of Appeal, which then passed it to the Supreme Court.

Justices face a time crunch because ballots for the Nov. 6 general election will be printed and start to be mailed to voters in September.