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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Florida parents sue over education cuts


by Fallon Silcox

SARASOTA - It's stated in the Constitution that the State of Florida has a paramount duty to adequately fund a high quality education system. But does cut after cut equal high quality education? A group of parents is set to find out.

Fund Education Now is a group of parents who advocate on behalf of Florida's students, and they're taking on the state, filing a law suit over education. They say if you have children, grandchildren, or any sort of investment in your own future, then this is something you should care about, too.

The group met with lawmakers, talked to parents, and spoke at public sessions, and now, they mean business.

“We filed the lawsuit for enforcement of the Constitution. Article 9 Section 1 states that it is the paramount duty of the State of Florida to adequately fund a high quality education system, and right now, we're not seeing that high quality system,” says Christine Sket of Manatee County Fund Education Now.

Sket says the lawsuit is a last resort to be heard. “We have to look at our Constitution, and if the paramount duty was to insure health care, or it was to provide benefits for veterans, then it's the paramount duty, and we need to put the emphasis on what our Constitution is. And if we let our Constitution go, and if we just say you can do whatever you want with it, then it's a worthless piece of paper.”

Between the Manatee and Sarasota County School Districts, over $20,000,000 had to be cut for next school year. “In the county, there are schools that will be, they're skimping on art, they're doubling up classes or doing a class and a half with the non-core classes,” says Sket.

She says it's students who will suffer if the cuts keep coming. “Our children are the next generation. These are our future leaders, and our country is only as strong as our educational system.”

Sket says the lawsuit is moving forward. However, the state is arguing that it's not up to a judge to decide if the legislatures are doing their job upholding the Constitution.

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