Lawsuit aims to increase Florida education funding

Monday, October 7, 2013

A group of determined parents from four Florida counties say the state’s public schools are unsafe, underfunded, inefficient and ineffective.

These parents from Alachua, Duval, Orange and Pasco have not taken their case to the court of public opinion — they have been fighting in court since 2009.

Their lawsuit, alleging that Florida lawmakers are shortchanging schoolchildren, is now moving forward. If successful, they could force the Florida Legislature to overhaul the state’s education system. “The Constitution makes it the paramount duty of the state to provide an efficient, safe, secure and uniform high-quality education,” said Neil Chonin, a Gainesville-based public-interest attorney representing the parents. “I’m firmly convinced the Legislature and the [state] Board of Education are ignoring that.”

The Attorney General’s office and the state Department of Education declined to comment on the lawsuit. A procedural hearing is scheduled for Oct. 9.

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