By a 5-4 margin, the Florida Supreme Court agreed earlier this month to hear the appeal of a major challenge to the constitutionality of Florida’s system for funding public education. Plaintiffs in the case, Citizens for Strong Schools, Inc. v. Florida State Board of Education, allege that the State has failed to provide an adequate education in accordance with the enhanced requirements of the 1998 constitutional amendment that requires the State provide a “uniform, efficient, safe, secure and high quality education.”
After an extensive trial, the trial court judge held in 2016 that most of the terms in the new constitutional language like “efficient” and “high quality” did not provide judicially manageable standards. In doing so, he ruled that these terms were “non-justiciable” “political questions” that should be determined by the legislative and executive branches and not by the courts. Last December, his position was affirmed by the First District Court of Appeals
An appeal to the state Supreme Court is not available in all cases, and plaintiffs here had to file a motion for permission to appeal to the high court. The case had been on hold during the legislative session, at lawmakers’ request. It was reinstated 15 days after the session ended.
The Supreme Court called for a prompt briefing schedule, but it has not yet set a date for oral argument.