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Judge: Lee County teacher can't bring school voucher lawsuit

A judge on Wednesday dismissed one of two legal challenges to the state school voucher program.

The lawsuit, filed by the statewide teachers union, targeted a controversial law that both expanded the voucher program and created new scholarships for children with disabilities.

The union said the Florida Legislature had violated the state Constitution by rolling multiple policies into one law.

Leon County Circuit Court Judge Charles Francis dismissed the case on a technicality. He said the social studies teacher who was named as the plaintiff did not have standing to bring the lawsuit.

Florida Education Association Vice President Joanne McCall called the ruling "disappointing."

"We wish the judge had taken up the merits of the case, because it's clear that the legislature overstepped its authority in passing this legislation," she said.

Incoming Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, said he was hopeful the union would "take this opportunity to re-evaluate their case and recognize the harm continuing this lawsuit will cause students."

FEA attorney Ron Meyer said he and union leaders was still determining whether to amend the complaint.

The union still has a separate school voucher lawsuit pending. That complaint contends the voucher program conflicts with the state's Constitutional duty to provide a "uniform, efficient, safe, secure and high quality system of free public schools."

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