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Does state support of schools fulfill law? Panel to study issue

By Associated Press
Published January 17, 2004

TALLAHASSEE - Florida's school boards want to know what the state Constitution means when it says the state has to provide a "high quality system of free public schools."

The Florida School Boards Association has created a 31-member commission to study that question for the next year.

Voters in 1998 approved a ballot measure that made education "a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida" and contained the "high quality" requirement.

The Constitutional Accountability Commission will be chaired by two former Cabinet officers: former Attorney General Bob Butterworth, a Democrat, and former Comptroller Bob Milligan, a Republican. It will report its findings to Gov. Jeb Bush and lawmakers.

"Any time you have major constitutional revision language it's always several years before people start saying, "Has that been implemented or not?' " said Wayne Blanton, executive director of the school boards group.

"I think the issue here is for us to actually decide has it been implemented and have we been adequately funded," he said. "... We also want to look and see if the money is being efficiently spent in public schools."

The commission will meet for the first time next week.

[Last modified January 17, 2004, 01:32:39]

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