Lawsuit Pits Public Education Supporters Against Some Parents of Special Needs Students

Aug 20, 2014

Credit Labpluto123 voa wiki creative commons

In July the Florida Education Association, the state-wide teachers’ union, filed a lawsuit against the state regarding a sweeping education bill (SB850) Governor Rick Scott signed into law earlier this year. The measure expands Florida’s corporate voucher program to send more children from low and middle income families to private schools. It also creates the Personal Learning Scholarship Account program to provide funding for the education needs of special needs students.

The FEA contends the law violates the single issue provision of the Florida constitution and takes funding away from public schools. Meanwhile, proponents of the measure say the lawsuit threatens access to financial resources for students with a variety of physical and cognitive disabilities. Does SB850 violate the state constitution and restrict funding for public schools or does it provide a new resources for students outside the public school system? 

Mark Castellano, Teachers Association of Lee County, President
Jon East, Step Up for Students, President
John and Mary Kurnick, St. Petersburg parents of child with autism
Joanne McCall, Florida Education Association, Vice President