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Steube files school board term limit bill

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 5:39 PM | Anonymous

Steube files school board term limit bill

School board members across Florida would be limited to two four-year terms in office under legislation filed recently by state Sen. Greg Steube.

The politics surrounding public education have grown increasingly acrimonious statewide and in Sarasota County, but Steube, R-Sarasota, said the school board term limits proposal – which would amend the Florida Constitution and must be approved by voters if it passes the Legislature - was not prompted by those debates.

“We have school board members all over the state who have been there well longer than two terms,” Steube said. “I just think we need some fresh blood.”

Conservatives have been trying to secure a majority on the Sarasota County School Board in recent years, but they were thwarted during the last election cycle when moderate board member Caroline Zucker fended off a challenge.

Now there’s an effort to recruit a challenger for Jane Goodwin, another Sarasota County School Board member viewed as more moderate, in the 2018 election cycle.

Under Steube’s bill, Goodwin, Zucker, board member Shirley Brown, a former Democratic state lawmaker, and conservative board member Bridget Ziegler – who also is up for election in 2018 - all would be barred from running again after next year because all would have been elected to at least two terms (assuming Ziegler is reelected).

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Zucker said of Steube’s bill, adding: “I don’t think that term limits work. I think term limits really defeat the purpose because what happens is the elected official has to rely on the staff, both at the county and state level, so the staff really has all the authority and the voters have no ability to vote out the staff.”

Conservative leaders in Florida have long pushed education policies aimed at expanding charter schools and the state’s de facto school voucher program, efforts that have been resisted at times by Democrats and some moderate Republicans.

The issue exploded this year when conservative House Speaker Richard Corcoran pushed through legislation that favors charter schools. Among other things, the bill forces school districts to give charter schools money for building construction and maintenance.

Some school districts are challenging the legislation in court.

“I wonder if this is in retaliation for the lawsuits?” Zucker said.

But Steube, a staunchly conservative lawmaker, said his bill (SJR 194) is not a response to the districts’ legal action.

Terms limits have proven popular with voters. Members of the Legislature and statewide elected officials already face term limits. Steube said voters should have a chance to decide if they want to expand term limits to school officials.

“It’s going to require 60 percent of the voters to vote for it,” he noted.


Campaign to Elect Greg Steube
PO Box 51957 
Sarasota, FL 34232
greg@electgregsteube.com

Campaign to Elect Greg Steube
PO Box 51957 
Sarasota, FL 34232
greg@electgregsteube.com
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Greg Steube, Republican, for Florida State Senate, District 23. Contributions are not deductible for federal income tax purposes. 
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