Putting Education Reform To The Test

What Florida’s Election Results Mean For Education

freerangelibrarian / Flickr

Your roundup of education-related election results is here.

Florida voters rejected a handful of constitutional changes opposed by The Florida School Boards Association and other education groups, including measures that would limit state spending and allow public funding for religious groups.

Voters also approved most of the school funding measures on ballots around the state, the biggest being a $1.2 billion bond for maintenance and construction in Miami-Dade schools.

And two teachers were elected to the Florida House of Representatives.

Education watchers were keeping a close eye on the proposed ballot amendments, most notably amendments 3, 4, 8 and 12. None came close to winning the 60 percent majority needed to pass, and many were nearly opposed by 60 percent of voters.

You can read our full guide to Florida’s ballot amendments here.

Amendment 3 would have imposed a TABOR-like limit on state revenue collections. Schools were worried it would inevitably mean a cut in state support for local services.

Amendment 4 would have extended a property tax break to new homebuyers and rental and commercial properties and second homes. Schools were exempted from the changes, but the Florida School Boards Association opposed the measure because it micro-manages property tax law.

Amendment 8 was dubbed the “religious freedom amendment,” and would delete language barring the state from giving public money to religious or sectarian groups.

School leaders worried the change could open the door to funding private, religious schools or the return of vouchers. But while those fears were good for motivating voters, approving Amendment 8 would never have directly meant the return of vouchers.

The Florida Supreme Court’s 2006 decision striking down vouchers was a factor in Amendment 5 as well, which would change the way state Supreme Court justices are chosen.

Finally, Amendment 12 would have changed the way the student member of the Florida Board of Governors is chosen.

Voters approved or renewed most school funding taxes across the state, including Pasco, Pinellas, and Seminole counties.

However, Brevard County voters rejected a half-cent increase in the sales tax.

Miami-Dade voters approved a $1.2 billion bond intended to repair crumbling school buildings and upgrade technology.

And finally, two teachers were elected to the Florida House of Representatives.

Maitland Democrat Karen Castor Dentel, an elementary school teacher, unseated incumbent Rep. Scott Plakon in a District 30 race which featured this mailer.

And Hillsborough County middle school science teacher Mark Danish, also a Democrat, appears to have won a very close race as well in District 63.



About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »