- The Florida Supreme Court on Friday rejected a petition from a parents’ group that argued the state was not fulfilling its constitutional requirement to provide an adequate public school education, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
- Because the legislature added the adequacy provision to the state constitution in 1998, the court ruled in a 5-4 decision that forcing lawmakers to increase funding for schools would violate the separation of powers, the article says.
- Citizens for Strong Schools, which includes the advocacy group Fund Education Now, filed the lawsuit about 10 years ago, arguing the state’s expansion of charters and tax credit scholarships is taking money away from public schools. School choice advocates celebrated the court’s decision.
Under Florida’s Republican Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis, the state’s choice-friendly environment is unlikely to change. During his campaign, he pledged to further expand private school choice programs. But he also discussed ways to trim bureaucracy and direct more funding to the classroom.
The court’s decision, however, runs counter to the recent wave of rulings in favor of plaintiffs in similar cases across the country. Last summer, for example, a district court ruled that New Mexico hasn’t provided the education mandated by the state constitution and gave incoming Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and her administration until April to develop a plan that ensures at-risk students are receiving an adequate education.
Decisions in school-funding cases in Kansas and Washington have also come down in favor of those arguing for more money for schools. With the legislative season just getting underway, school funding formulas are expected to be a top priority in several states, including Connecticut, Texas and Massachusetts.