Jason Fischer says a special carve out in the state constitution, the result of Jacksonville’s consolidation, gives him the ability to propose legislation that strips Jacksonville voters of their right to vote for their school board members. Most people outside of Jason Gabriel’s OGC office (the ones that wrote Fischer’s J-1 bill) in city hall think that is a laughable argument. Here is the thing Fischer must think the state constitution is a joke to even propose the bill and on that he is correct.
Here is what it says about school boards,
|Text of Section 4:
School Districts; School Boards
(a) Each county shall constitute a school district; provided, two or more contiguous counties, upon vote of the electors of each county pursuant to law, may be combined into one school district. In each school district there shall be a school board composed of five or more members chosen by vote of the electors in a nonpartisan election for appropriately staggered terms of four years, as provided by law.
(b) The school board shall operate, control and supervise all free public schools within the school district and determine the rate of school district taxes within the limits prescribed herein. Two or more school districts may operate and finance joint educational programs.
Um we still do the voting, for now anyways but the school board has nominal control over charters and zero control over voucher schools.
Then unless you have been under a rock for the last two months you know the city council has tried to strip away their ability to tax.
It gets worse because this is what the constitution says about education,
||Text of Section 1:
(a) The education of children is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida. It is, therefore, a paramount duty of the state to make adequate provision for the education of all children residing within its borders. Adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education and for the establishment, maintenance, and operation of institutions of higher learning and other public education programs that the needs of the people may require. To assure that children attending public schools obtain a high quality education, the legislature shall make adequate provision to ensure that, by the beginning of the 2010 school year, there are a sufficient number of classrooms so that:
- (1) The maximum number of students who are assigned to each teacher who is teaching in public school classrooms for prekindergarten through grade 3 does not exceed 18 students;
- (2) The maximum number of students who are assigned to each teacher who is teaching in public school classrooms for grades 4 through 8 does not exceed 22 students; and
- (3) The maximum number of students who are assigned to each teacher who is teaching in public school classrooms for grades 9 through 12 does not exceed 25 students.
The class size requirements of this subsection do not apply to extracurricular classes. Payment of the costs associated with reducing class size to meet these requirements is the responsibility of the state and not of local schools districts. Beginning with the 2003-2004 fiscal year, the legislature shall provide sufficient funds to reduce the average number of students in each classroom by at least two students per year until the maximum number of students per classroom does not exceed the requirements of this subsection.
(b) Every four-year old child in Florida shall be provided by the State a high quality pre-kindergarten learning opportunity in the form of an early childhood development and education program which shall be voluntary, high quality, free, and delivered according to professionally accepted standards. An early childhood development and education program means an organized program designed to address and enhance each child’s ability to make age appropriate progress in an appropriate range of settings in the development of language and cognitive capabilities and emotional, social, regulatory and moral capacities through education in basic skills and such other skills as the Legislature may determine to be appropriate.
(c) The early childhood education and development programs provided by reason of subparagraph (b) shall be implemented no later than the beginning of the 2005 school year through funds generated in addition to those used for existing education, health, and development programs. Existing education, health, and development programs are those funded by the State as of January 1, 2002 that provided for child or adult education, health care, or development.
Did you notice a few things that Florida ignores?
How about paramount duty? Nope not in Florida, here it is an after thought and a recent court ruling about funding said that was all right.
Uniform and efficient? Not with charters and voucher schools who play by different rules taking a bigger and bigger cut.
Then the class size amendment, well friends that has been spun folded and mutilated beyond all recognition.
Fischer knows the constitution is a joke and that’s why he thinks he can get away with his proposal to strip the citizens of Jacksonville of the right to vote. The Florida constitution is not some hallowed document to be respected and revered, it’s more like suggestions scribbled down on a cocktail napkin.