Amendment 8: School Board Term Limits and Duties; Public Schools.

AuthorDonalds, Erika
PositionThird Florida Constitution Revision Commission Proposals

Amendment 8 (1) would impose term limits on school board members; increase the legislature's ability to authorize the creation of certain public schools; and enshrine in the constitution the requirement for students to achieve civic literacy.

School Board Term Limits

Each Florida county constitutes a local school district governed by an elected school board of at least five members. (2) The school board operates, controls, and supervises all public schools in the school district and determines policies and programs that affect every student. (3) In most Florida counties, the district school board is also one of the largest employers. (4) School board members are voted into office in nonpartisan elections, and serve four-year, staggered terms. (5) Currently, school board members may serve an unlimited number of terms.

In 1992, a citizens' initiative (6) amended the Florida Constitution to require eight-year term limits for state legislators, the lieutenant governor, and members of the cabinet. (7) The constitution also effectively limits the governor to two consecutive four-year terms. (8) These term limits apply prospectively only.

Amendment 8 proposes an amendment to Fla. Const. art. IX, [section]4(a), to provide a consecutive eight-year term limit for school-board members. (9) It states: "A person may not appear on the ballot for re-election to the office of school board if, by the end of the current term of office, the person would have served, or but for resignation would have served, in that office for eight consecutive years." (10) This term limit would apply only prospectively. (11) The earliest a school board member would be term-limited under this proposal would be 2026. Unlike the rest of Amendment 8, the term-limit portion would take effect immediately. (12)

School Board Control

Florida's constitution creates a hierarchy between the state and the local school districts in governing and overseeing Florida's public education system. The State Board of Education supervises free public education system as a whole, but only the school board has the power to operate, control, and supervise the free public schools within its district boundaries. (13) Amendment 8 revises art. IX, [section]4(b), and specifies that the school board shall operate, control, and supervise all free public schools "established by the district school board" within the school district.

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