- The Florida Senate Committee on Rules granted approval to House Bill 477, which seeks to decrease the term limit for school board members from twelve years to eight years.
- Governor DeSantis endorsed the proposal in January and established it as a legislative priority.
- A constitutional amendment has also been proposed to make local school board races partisan, with the Senate approving the proposal last week, meaning that it will be included on ballots in 2024.
The Florida Senate Committee on Rules granted approval to House Bill 477, which seeks to decrease the term limit for school board members from twelve years to eight years.
DeSantis made a public endorsement of the proposal in January, establishing it as a legislative priority to reduce the twelve-year term limit that he signed last year.
“We did do the twelve-year school board limits, but I think it should be eight-year term limits,” said DeSantis. “Eight years is enough to get your ideas in, see some of the successes, or maybe some things you need to change. I’m a big believer in term limits across the board … our legislature works better because we have term limits.”
As with last year’s twelve-year term limit proposal, Democrat lawmakers remained in opposition to the measure, with just a single party member — Rep. Kevin Chambliss — breaking party lines in the House vote.
“Governor now wants 8-year term limits for school board members and partisan elections to basically get rid of current members over time and make public education more partisan.,” said House Democrat Rep. Anna Eskamani. “This goes far deeper than just culture wars — this is an educational power grab.”
As of Monday, the legislation has not been scheduled for any additional Senate committee hearings, with the possibility of a full floor vote looming.
Similar bills were filed in 2019 and 2020 by then-Representative Anthony Sabatini, which worked to implement longstanding term limits on school board members similar to the ones imposed on state lawmakers. Although either piece of legislation failed to cross the finish line, they received the backing of DeSantis.
A constitutional amendment also seeking to alter school boards has made its way through the legislative process, aiming to make local school board races partisan.
According to the proposal, candidates running for school board positions would be permitted to run as a member of a political party, and their party affiliation would be shown on the ballot during the 2026 election cycle.
Presently, school board elections in Florida are non-partisan, meaning that no affiliation appears next to their name on the ballot. The Senate approved the proposal last week, meaning that it will be included on ballots in 2024.