Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission, and What it Could Mean for Education, and For Our Kids
Every 20 years, a constitution revision commission (CRC) is appointed and charged with reviewing the Florida Constitution to propose changes. The 37-member group meets this year with the goal of proposing amendments, which will eventually become part of the ballot for citizens to vote on in November, 2018. Amendments that are approved by voters in November will become part of the Florida Constitution for the next 20 years.
Of the 782 proposals submitted by the public in 2017, six were advanced by the Commission. Another 103 proposals were put forth by commissioners, 30 of which concerned education. Those proposals are currently being considered by the nine-member Education Committee within the CRC. Once approved by that committee, the public will have an opportunity to provide input during public hearings, after which the proposals will be voted on by the full Commission and could be ultimately placed on the ballot.
A Focus on Privatization
Proposals being considered that affect public education include:
- Proposal 33: Superintendent of schools
This proposal would require that school district superintendents be appointed by the School Board, not elected.
- Proposals 43: Education
This proposal would limit school board members’ service to eight consecutive years.
While on the surface these two bills might seem good, they open up district leadership up to more influence from special interest groups and political lobbying because of more frequent turnover. Currently, the public has the ability to vote a School Board member out if they don’t want them to serve additional terms.
- Proposals 4: Declaration of rights, religious freedom
This proposal would eliminate the current constitutional language which prohibits tax dollars from being given to religious institutions, paving the way for more privatization of our public schools and our public tax money.
- Proposal 45: Education, public education
This proposal would alter the Constitution’s language on education to include alternatives to district schools.
- Proposal 71: Education, school districts, school boards
This proposal would allow the state to create a different governing body to approve charter schools without the approval of the locally elected school board, effectively creating alternate and competing education system using tax dollars.
- Proposal 93: Education, school districts, schools boards, charter districts This proposal would allow high-performing school districts to become Independent charter districts.
Other proposals include reorganization of state/community colleges and additional restrictions on college funding.
An ongoing theme within the Commission favors privatization at the expense of public schools. It’s important for citizens to have a voice in the process, letting the Commission know that we want our tax dollars used to fully fund our public schools rather than to create a competing system.
Let Your Voice be Heard
There are two main ways to speak up to the Commission before the proposals appear on the ballot:
- Email the Commissioners.
- Attend and speak at an upcoming public hearing. Hearings closest to our area include:
|Monday, February 19, 2018
1:00-7:00 PM EST
Eastern Florida State College
Maxwell C. King Center
|Tuesday, February 20, 2018
1:00-7:00 PM EST
University of North Florida Herbert University Center
12000 Alumni Drive
Jacksonville, FL 32224
|Tuesday, March 13, 2018
1:00-7:00 PM EST
University of South Florida – St. Petersburg
University Student Center
200 6th Ave S
St. Petersburg, FL 33701