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Florida Justice Reform Institute backs Supreme Court school funding decision

By Carrie Bradon | Jan 10, 2019


TALLAHASSEE- The Florida Supreme Court recently threw out a lawsuit that has been lingering for nine years, alleging Florida has not done enough to ensure that the state education system is of a high enough caliber.

The Jan. 4 ruling decided the lawsuit filed by Citizens for Strong Schools, which alleged the state was shirking its responsibility to provide a "high-quality education," according to Tampa Bay Times.

The lawsuit was filed by a group comprised of parents, students and advocacy groups, all pointing to a lack of funding in the schools, arguing the alleged shortage of funds was resulting in a poor education system for students.

The decision was made by justices Charles Canady, Al Lawson, Edward LaRose and Jorge Labarga, who found that the plaintiffs failed to present a standard that would be measurable and that would not overstep its bounds into other government branches, namely that the decision of how to fund education was not one the court should be expected to make.

The dedicated president of our lobbying organization in Tallahassee, FL
William Large of Florida Justice Reform Institute
Courtesy of FJRI

William Large of the Florida Justice Reform Institute, said he believes this was the correct decision by the court. 

“The petitioners tried to use vague terms such as 'efficient' and 'high quality' to take away the legislature’s policymaking function and give it to the Judicial Branch," Large told Florida Record. 

Large said the decision, ultimately, would not lie with the judicial branch.

"The judicial branch isn’t the proper place to make educational funding level decisions," Large said. "At the end of the day, it is one of the best decisions ever written on the separation of powers; as such, it is to be applauded." 

Despite a 1998 constitutional amendment that says Florida is required to provide an "efficient, safe, secure and high quality" education, the court did not comment on the difficulty of the plaintiffs to decide how those terms would be decided, according to APNews.