Amendment 8 will not appear on the November ballot for voters to decide. That’s the ruling of the Florida Supreme Court which heard arguments earlier this week from attorneys for the League of Women Voters that the amendment’s ballot title and summary fails to provide voters with a clear description of what the amendment would do.
In a narrow 4-3 decision, the court Friday issued the order striking the amendment from the ballot saying it violated state law for ballot summaries. But the order did not contain the justices opinions, saying “An opinion setting forth our reasons for this decision will issue at a later date. Rehearing will not be entertained.”
The proposed amendment would have imposed term limits on school board members, require civics education be included in public schools and establish a process for overseeing charter schools that falls under another regulating authority, such as the state, in addition to local school boards.
It was that last component that upset the League saying the ballot summary failed to mention the words “charter schools,” instead it says the amendment “permits the state to operate, control, and supervise public schools not established by the school board.” Critics argued the measure was an attempt to make it easier to approve charter schools in Florida.
Two weeks ago, a circuit court judge in Leon County agreed with the League that the wording of the proposed amendment was “misleading” and “fails to inform voters of the chief purpose and effect of this proposal.” The judge said the Constitution Revision Commission, which placed the amendment on the ballot, intentionally bundled the the charter school provision with the term limit and civics education components to increase increase its chances of passing.
The judge’s decision was appealed and the case was certified directly to the Florida Supreme Court, which heard arguments in the case Wednesday afternoon in an unusual hearing in a Palm Beach County courtroom.