The Orange County School Board on Monday joined 12 others in a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of a new Florida education law.
The lawsuit against HB 7069 — a controversial education measure that became law in July — was filed in Tallahassee by 13 school boards, including those in Polk and Volusia counties. It argues the new law usurps school board power.
Orange School Board members decided in August to join the legal challenge, angered by what they said was the Florida Legislature’s unjust actions in passing the law later signed by Gov. Rick Scott.
“Under this far reaching law, the state has encroached on the authority vested by the Florida Constitution in locally elected district school boards to operate, control, and supervise the local public schools,” the lawsuit said.
The legal challenge, filed in circuit court in Leon County, focuses on several provisions of the law related to charter schools — public schools run by private groups with approval from a local school board.
It argues the law unconstitutionally forces local school districts to share some local property taxes with charter schools, which are sometimes run by private, for-profit firms, and allows “schools of hope” charter schools to open without oversight from local school boards, among other issues.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, the law’s key champion, has argued “schools of hope” will give students now attending struggling schools a new option and has criticized the school boards involved in the lawsuit as “terrified of innovation.”
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