A long-running lawsuit over whether the state is properly funding its public schools is now before the Florida Supreme Court. Oral arguments have been scheduled for November 8th.
Arguments will start at 9 a.m. with each side getting 20 minutes to spell out its case. The hearing has been nearly a decade in the making. At issue is whether the Florida legislature is upholding a constitutional mandate to adequately fund a safe and high-quality system of public education.
The group Citizens for Strong Schools brought the complaint. It’s argued Florida is funding two separate systems of public education through its use of privately-run yet publicly funded charter schools, and vouchers that allow kids to attend private schools for varying reasons. Opponents say such programs take money away from traditional public schools, though courts have refuted that argument in past lawsuits.
In 2016, Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds the plaintiffs didn’t prove their case. he noted in his ruling there wasn’t a correlation between funding and student performance, and that Florida students have made gains in national education benchmarks like NAEP, often called the “nation’s report card.”