Florida Education Association files suit against religious funding amendment

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July 20, 2011

By Bailey Ludlam


TALLAHASSEE, Florida: The Florida Education Association (FEA), an inter-faith clergy group and some school administrators filed a lawsuit to block a proposed religious funding amendment.[1]

The measure in question is scheduled to appear on the Florida 2012 statewide ballot as Amendment 7. The proposed measure would prevent individuals from being barred from participating in public programs if they choose to use public funds at a religious provider. Essentially, the measure moves to repeal the state's ban of public dollars for religious funding, also known as the "Blaine Amendment."[2][3][4]

Also involved in the suit is Lee Swift, president of the Florida School Board Association, and Susan Summers-Persis, president of the Florida Association of School Administrators.

Opponents argue that the measure's title and ballot summary are misleading. FEA describes the proposed measure as an "underhanded attempt to legalize state tuition vouchers for private schools, including church-affiliated schools."[5]

The filed lawsuit also challenges 2011 legislation that allows for the Florida Attorney General's office to rewrite ballot summaries or titles when the Florida Supreme Court removes a certified measure from the statewide ballot. The lawsuit argues that authority for such a changes lies only in the Florida State Legislature.[5]

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