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Teachers union aims to block attempt to lift ban on tax money for religious organizations

The Florida Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, tomorrow will announce a lawsuit aimed at blocking a constitutional amendment from the 2012 statewide ballot that would repeal the so-called Blaine Amendment, the Times/Herald has learned.

And since we're jumping the gun, let's go even further: The FEA suit, if successful, would trigger another measure approved by the Legislature this year. Frustrated with the state's highest court removing amendments because of misleading ballot language, lawmakers set up a process that gives them a second bite at the apple by requiring the attorney general fix any problems.

The Blaine Amendment has been in the cross-hairs of Republicans since the Florida Supreme Court halted then-Gov. Jeb Bush's so-called opportunity scholarship program, the nation's first statewide school vouchers.

After failed attempts in recent years, the Republican-controlled Legislature used its super-majority this year to muscle the amendment on to the ballot saying the long-standing ban on the public funding of religious organizations discriminates against soup kitchens and other charities.

But opponents say the change would open the door for the state to restart a school voucher program that paid to send students to parochial schools.

The constitutional amendment passed 81-35 in the House and 26-10 in the Senate. It would need 60 percent approval from voters.

Comments

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Kenneth

Typical of the Teachers Union. How about this, let's put up parochial schools vs Public Schools and see which: 1. Operates more efficiently. 2. Which uses more tax dollars.

And most importantly; 3. Which school comes out better in overall testing scores according to national statics.

Teacher's Unions do not want competition, it's as simple as that. Maybe if people had the choice of either private or public schools, the public schools would have to step up to an acceptable level to compete.

T. Walker

It is not about school choice. Parents can send their
child to any school of choice. If you want vouchers fine,
but not with public school money. Fund vouchers
through private corporations instead of stealing the
money from the public school pot.

George Klaes

Catholics have never asked for more than their fair share.

Jim Young

@ T. Walker: Why can't the parent choose where to use public funds for school? Don't those parents pay taxes too? How is it stealing money from the public school pot? Who says that it is the public school's money?

Robert Nugent

Friends,

I just created a petition: Protect Florida Public Schools: Vote "NO' on Amendment 8, because I care deeply about this very important issue.

I'm trying to collect 1000 signatures, and I could really use your help.

To read more about what I'm trying to do and to sign my petition, go to:

http://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/protect-florida-public-schools-vote-no-on-amendment-8?share_id=NkaBPDQPOt

It'll just take a minute!

Once you're done, please ask your friends to sign the petition as well. Grassroots movements succeed because people like you are willing to spread the word!

Robert

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