Senate Education Commitee Chairman John Legg declined an award from the Florida School Boards Association on Friday -- one day after the organization announced plans to challenge the school voucher program in court.
"It is now apparent to me that the association's stance on educating low income students and access to choice in education is too conflicting with my own," Legg wrote in a letter to FSBA Executive Director Wayne Blanton. "It saddens me that the FSBA would take a position that looks to eliminate customization in education, an approach which is widely viewed to be essential to improving student learning."
The FSBA named Legg its Legislator of the Year on July 1.
His notification letter included a hand-written message from Blanton: "Thanks for all you have done for us. Your support of technology is greatly appreciated by all of the school districts."
Legg, a Trinity Republican and longtime supporter of school choice, declined the honor Friday.
"It is my sincere hope that the FSBA will abandon this hostile view toward low income students and customization," he wrote. "While in the past, we may not have agreed on every issue, we nevertheless maintained a healthy respect while working to resolve our differences for the betterment of all students. I hope the FSBA will redirect its efforts for the advancement of all our students and I look forward to working with you to that end."
The FSBA lawsuit takes aim at the tax credit scholarship program, which provides private-school scholarships to children from low-income families. The association's attorney claims the program conflicts with the state's Constitutionally mandated duty to provide a free and uniform system of public schools.
The state teachers union, PTA and the League of Women voters of Florida are also participating.
Read the letters from the FSBA and Legg below.