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Teacher's union to file suit against vouchers amendments

Two proposed constitutional amendments designed to clear the way for private school vouchers will first face a legal challenge mounted by Florida's teachers union, a spokesman for the union said Wednesday.

The Florida Education Association will argue that the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission didn't have the authority to put the two amendments on the ballot, violated state public notice laws when it put the issue on its agenda at the last-minute agenda, and failed to write a ballot summary that clearly tells voters what the amendment does, said FEA spokesman Mark Pudlow.

"We'll be saying, among other things, that the TBRC exceeded its authority in placing things on the ballot that were not directly related to the budget process,'' he said.

The lawsuit will be filed against Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning in the next couple of weeks in Leon County Circuit Court, Pudlow said.

The TBRC placed amendments #7 and #9 on the ballot as part of its 20-year review of the state taxation and budget system. Amendment 7 repeals the century's old constitutional ban on using state funds on religious entities, known as the Blaine Amendment.''

Amendment 9  would sanction private school vouchers in the state Constitution and school boards would be required to spend at least 65 percent of their funding on classroom instruction. The legislature would define what constitutes classroom instruction and would write the rules for what schools are eligible for vouchers.