Students Lose on Amendment 8 Ballot Decision

CONTACT: Allison Aubuchon, APR

communications@allisonaubuchon.com | 850.766.5255 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Students Lose on Amendment 8 Ballot Decision

8isGreat.org Releases Statement on Amendment 8

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Sept. 7, 2018) – Today, the Florida Supreme Court denied the State’s appeal to keep Amendment 8 on the November ballot. The decision means Floridians will be denied the chance to decide for themselves on Amendment 8 this November.

 

Amendment 8’s policies aimed to create more innovation and opportunity in education by creating eight-year term limits for school board members, to bring fresh faces and ideas to education, cutting red tape to make way for student-centered public education possibilities, and prioritizing and protecting civic education, to help students become informed, engaged citizens.

 

Erika Donalds, mother of three school-age children, a Collier County School Board Member and the main sponsor of Amendment 8 on the Constitutional Revision Commission, released the following statement:

 

“Voters deserved to have a say in whether to allow the monopoly over schools to continue, but activist judges have decided otherwise.

 

“We saw so-called ‘progressive’ groups defending regressive education policies and obstructing progress for students at every turn. They might as well have been standing in front of schoolhouse doors, blocking families from entering. The students most impacted by this awful decision cannot write checks, organize to write misleading editorials or hire high-priced out-of-state lawyers to distort the truth in the courtroom. So I was proud and determined to speak up for them. And will continue to do so.

 

“The League of Women Voters and the Southern Poverty Law Center were so busy protecting a system – protecting power and control – that they lost sight of the children, and the families who desire and deserve great public school options. We know that choice, competition, and innovation are the avenues to continuous improvement for our education system. The education monopoly will not reform itself or welcome needed competition without policy changes.

 

“In addition to term limits and civics education, the most publicly contentious priority was to create new pathways for public schools of choice for Florida’s families. We may have lost this battle, but it was a small one within the greater mission of bringing true education freedom to every family in Florida.

 

“It is our goal that every child be afforded a free public education that meets his or her unique needs. I’m proud to have carried this Amendment. I am extremely disappointed that the justices made the wrong call in striking the Amendment from the ballot. I have heard from the people loud and clear. Families want this policy, and we will find a way to give it to them.”

 

About 8isGreat.org

8isGreat.org is a non-profit organization created to promote the passage of proposed Florida Constitutional Amendment 8. 8isGreat.org was formed and is led by Collier County School Board Member Erika Donalds, the main sponsor of the proposed Amendment on the Constitutional Revision Commission. Along with Commissioner Donalds, 8isGreat.org executive board members include Indian River County School Board Chairman Shawn Frost and Duval County School Board Member Scott Shine. To learn more, visit https://www.8isgreat.org/.

 

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Groups Join Appeal to Keep Amendment 8 on Ballot!

CONTACT: Allison Aubuchon, APR

communications@allisonaubuchon.com | 850.766.5255 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Groups Join Appeal Asking Court to Keep Amendment 8 on Ballot

Arguments in Amendment 8 Ballot Decision to be Heard by Supreme Court

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Aug. 28, 2018) – The State of Florida requested the Florida Supreme Court quash a lower court order and approve Amendment 8 for placement on the November ballot, submitting a Petitioner’s Brief Monday by Attorney General Pam Bondi. The State’s appeal will be heard by the Supreme Court next Wednesday, Sept. 5, and is now supported by two amicus briefs submitted by groups with distinct interests in the issue.

 

The Urban Leagues of both Miami and Central Florida, along with the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools and the Florida Charter School Alliance, have filed briefs in support of the State’s appeal. The State argues that a Tallahassee Circuit Court judge erred in his decision to remove Amendment 8 from the ballot last week, explaining it will neither dilute “the essential role school boards play in authorizing” charter schools, nor “exclude district school boards from any role in establishing” them.

 

“In reaching its conclusion to the contrary, the Circuit Court mistakenly relied on the language of an earlier draft proposal that was never approved by the CRC and is not before this Court,” the State’s brief explains.

 

“We remain determined and hopeful that the court will make the right decision to allow voters to decide Amendment 8 on its merits,” said Erika Donalds, mother of three school-age children, a Collier County School Board Member and the main sponsor of Amendment 8 on the Constitutional Revision Commission. “Those with a mission to preserve the status quo have created unwarranted confusion and fear over what Amendment 8 will do. And we’re working to correct the record. This effort has always been about students. I hope more adults will remember that.”

 

The Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools and Florida Charter School Alliance Amicus Brief:

 

The Consortium and Alliance – in their brief filed this week – cite their “unique position to assist the Court in understanding the existing relationship between charter schools and the state’s school districts and how Amendment 8 maintains that status quo rather than alters it, while also granting the Legislature the flexibility to make future changes to public school options.”

 

Addressing confusion generated by opponents over the exclusion of the phrase “charter schools” from the ballot summary, the brief sheds light on a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of Amendment 8.

 

“Public charter schools are only one of a multitude of non-traditional public school options that currently exist for students in Florida and that may benefit from passage of Amendment 8,” the brief explains. “It is drafted broadly to apply to all public schools (charter included)—those existing today and those that may exist in the future. Because there is no way to know exactly what future students will require from public education in Florida, nor the policy preferences of the legislature in years to come, Amendment 8 ensures the legislature has the flexibility to make policy decisions and provide innovative approaches to how future public schools are operated, controlled, and supervised.”

 

The brief goes on to underscore that the passage of Amendment 8 will not alter the current relationship between public charter schools and district school boards.

 

The Urban Leagues’ Amicus Brief:

 

The two Urban Leagues, in their joint brief, state their distinct interest in improving Florida’s education quality and in increasing educational choices for the low-income communities they serve.

 

“All of Florida’s citizens deserve the opportunity to vote on whether Florida will be a state where children of color have better, more robust educational options or whether the local school districts should keep their virtually unfettered power to stifle competition to the detriment of the State and its most needy students,” the brief states.

 

“The trial court, in particular, seemed to think it problematic that Revision 8’s summary did not mention the word ‘charter schools,’” the brief goes on to explain. “But, if Revision 8 passes, the Florida Legislature may decide to open competition in public education to other entities besides charter schools. Hence, any summary of Revision 8 that included the word ‘charter schools,’ as the trial court would require, might turn out to be both misleading and wrong.”

 

Background:

 

On the November general election ballot, Floridians will have the chance to vote on amendments to the State Constitution, a process which only happens every 20 years. Proposed amendments are developed with input from Floridians and drafted and approved through Florida’s Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC) process.

 

Amendment 8, known as the education amendment, would create eight-year term limits for Florida school board members to bring fresh faces and ideas to education. It would also remove outdated red tape, making way for student-centered public education possibilities, and it would prioritize and protect civic education to help students become informed, engaged citizens. Each policy impacts innovation and opportunity for Florida education. They were grouped logically through the CRC process, in the same way other amendments throughout Florida history have been grouped.

 

Amendment 8 will read as follows on the ballot, Nov. 6, 2018: “SCHOOL BOARD TERM LIMITS AND DUTIES; PUBLIC SCHOOLS. — Creates a term limit of eight consecutive years for school board members and requires the legislature to provide for the promotion of civic literacy in public schools. Currently, district school boards have a constitutional duty to operate, control, and supervise all public schools. The amendment maintains a school board’s duties to public schools it establishes, but permits the state to operate, control, and supervise public schools not established by the school board.”

 

About 8isGreat.org

8isGreat.org is a non-profit organization created to promote the passage of proposed Florida Constitutional Amendment 8. 8isGreat.org was formed and is led by Collier County School Board Member Erika Donalds, the main sponsor of the proposed Amendment on the Constitutional Revision Commission. Along with Commissioner Donalds, 8isGreat.org executive board members include Indian River County School Board Chairman Shawn Frost and Duval County School Board Member Scott Shine. To learn more, visit https://www.8isgreat.org/.

 

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Response to Leon Court Ruling

 

CONTACT: Allison Aubuchon, APR

communications@allisonaubuchon.com | 850.766.5255 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Statement from 8isGreat.org on Leon County Ruling

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Aug. 20, 2018) – The non-profit organization 8isGreat.org, created to promote proposed Amendment 8’s passage, released the following statement today:

 

“Today’s judgement was disappointing given what we know, that Amendment 8’s policies were logically grouped together and followed Florida’s constitutional process,” said Erika Donalds, mother of three school-age children, main sponsor of Amendment 8 on the Constitutional Revision Commission and a Collier County School Board Member. “The group suing to remove Amendment 8 from the ballot fundamentally opposes empowering families to choose the education setting that best fits their child. Despite the speculation and bunk they’ve spread, I hope voters will be able to make their own decision in November. It is disgusting how many misrepresentations the opposition is willing to put forth to block student-centered school choice options.

 

“Education can and should look different for students based on various reasons and seasons in their lives. Florida has come so far, and Amendment 8 is our next logical step in providing innovations and opportunities that help education work for every child.”

 

About 8isGreat.org

8isGreat.org is a non-profit organization created to promote the passage of proposed Florida Constitutional Amendment 8. 8isGreat.orgwas formed and is led by Collier County School Board Member Erika Donalds, the main sponsor of the proposed Amendment on the Constitutional Revision Commission. Along with Commissioner Donalds, 8isGreat.org executive board members include Indian River County School Board Chairman Shawn Frost and Duval County School Board Member Scott Shine. To learn more, visithttps://www.8isgreat.org/.

 

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Amendment 8 Supporters Receive Major Boost

 

CONTACT: Allison Aubuchon, APR

communications@allisonaubuchon.com | 850.766.5255 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Amendment 8 Supporters Receive Major Boost

U.S. Term Limits Founder Donates $100k to 8isGreat.org

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Aug. 19, 2018) – Amendment 8, known as the education amendment, received a major boost today from Howard Rich, chairman and founder of U.S. Term Limits, another supporter going all-in on the amendment, which among its policies would create eight-year term limits for Florida school board members, bringing fresh faces and ideas to education.

 

Rich announced his $100k donation to 8isGreat.org, a non-profit organization created to promote the proposed amendment’s passage. Rich founded U.S. Term Limits in 1992, and the organization has played a key role in enacting term limits on 15 state legislatures as well as enacting and protecting term limits in municipalities and counties all around the country.

 

“To truly have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, we need to put an end to career politicians who are in it for themselves more than for their constituents,” said Rich. “I am proud to support the work taking place in Florida to make sure education in our rapidly changing world is served by fresh ideas from citizen legislators.”

 

The major donation follows broad support for policies within Amendment 8, offering voters more innovation and opportunity in public education. In addition to term limits, the amendment would remove outdated red tape, making way for student-centered public education possibilities, and it would prioritize and protect civic education to help students become informed, engaged citizens. Each policy impacts innovation and opportunity for Florida education.

 

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Setting the Record Straight on Amendment 8

 

CONTACT: Allison Aubuchon, APR

communications@allisonaubuchon.com | 850.766.5255 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Setting the Record Straight on Amendment 8

Three Education Policies Fuel Innovation and Opportunity

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Aug. 16, 2018) – On the November general election ballot, Floridians will have the chance to vote on amendments to the State Constitution, a process which only happens every 20 years. Proposed amendments are developed with input from Floridians and drafted and approved through Florida’s Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC) process.

 

Amendment 8, known as the education amendment, would create eight-year term limits for Florida school board members to bring fresh faces and ideas to education. It would also remove outdated red tape, making way for student-centered public education possibilities, and it would prioritize and protect civic education to help students become informed, engaged citizens. Each policy impacts innovation and opportunity for Florida education. They were grouped logically through the CRC process, in the same way other amendments throughout Florida history have been grouped.

 

The non-profit organization 8isGreat.org, created to promote the proposed amendment’s passage, is encouraged by its broad support and is working to help correct the record following misinformation from groups fundamentally opposed to educational choices for Florida public school students.

 

“The promise of a high-quality education means improving opportunities as our state changes,” said Collier County School Board Member Erika Donalds, the main sponsor of Amendment 8 on the Constitutional Revision Commission and Founder of 8isGreat.org. “It is our responsibility to the next generation to help public education work for every student it serves. Amendment 8 offers policies that will help ensure Florida is bringing fresh ideas and opportunities into education, and it empowers our students with a civics knowledge that will serve them for life.”

 

Amendment 8 will read as follows on the ballot, Nov. 6, 2018: “SCHOOL BOARD TERM LIMITS AND DUTIES; PUBLIC SCHOOLS. — Creates a term limit of eight consecutive years for school board members and requires the legislature to provide for the promotion of civic literacy in public schools. Currently, district school boards have a constitutional duty to operate, control, and supervise all public schools. The amendment maintains a school board’s duties to public schools it establishes, but permits the state to operate, control, and supervise public schools not established by the school board.”

 

“Florida has come so far in offering education options to families, leading the nation, and this amendment helps ensure we do not stagnate,” added Donalds. “It opens the door to more possibilities for our students. Hoping our children can play catchup later in life is not an option. We need to do everything in our power to offer each child a high-quality education.”

 

More on Amendment 8:

 

Amendment 8 Creates School Board Member Term Limits:

 

Eight-year term limits mean more innovative thinking on school boards as new members are elected.

The amendment will allow more people an opportunity to serve as citizen legislators on school boards. Term limits reduce the power of incumbency and make elections more competitive through open-seat races. While school board members can put term limits on local ballots themselves, no school board in the history of Florida has given voters the choice to “term limit” them.

 

“The reason I offered the term-limits portion of the proposal as a citizen suggestion (Proposal 43) was because school board member races need to be competitive campaigns, and the power of incumbency is too great to overcome,” said Shawn Frost, Indian River County School Board Chairman and 8isGreat.org Executive Board Member. “We don’t need career politicians, out of touch with parents and entrenched in special interests, making decisions for our students.”

 

Amendment 8 Makes Way for Education Opportunities:

 

Innovation has helped Florida create an environment of robust school choices, helping to meet individual student needs.

As innovation and choices have grown in Florida, traditional public schools have improved. The graduation rate is now at an all-time high despite increasing academic standards. School grades continue rising despite more rigorous grading criteria. As students from most other states have stagnated on the highly regarded National Assessments of Educational Progress, Florida students continue to improve. Florida has many excellent district-run schools, public charter schools and the Florida Virtual School.

 

Further innovation in Florida education is hindered by outdated laws.

The rules that school districts operate under, codified 50 years ago in the Florida Constitution, have not kept up with today’s Florida. Diverse learning models are necessary for our diverse student population. Amendment 8 gives the State of Florida the flexibility to establish new public education opportunities, so that our system of free public education can be more innovative and adaptive for students as we progress through the 21st Century.

 

 

 

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Florida School Board Members form “8isGREAT.org” political committee in favor of school board term limits and other K-12 policy

 

Florida School Board Members form “8isGREAT.org” political committee in favor of school board term limits and other K-12 policy

Tallahassee, Florida

June 4, 2018

Three current elected School Board Members have formed a political committee to promote the passage of proposed Florida Constitutional Amendment 8. Amendment 8 consists of three K-12 public education reforms, including term limits of 8 years for school board members. “8isGREAT.org” is headed by the main sponsor of the proposed Amendment on the Constitution Revision Commission and Collier County School Board Member, Erika Donalds. Commissioner Donalds is joined by Indian River County School Board Chairman, Shawn Frost, and Duval County School Board Member, Scott Shine, as executive board members.

Together they are building a grassroots coalition of concerned citizens and organizations who believe that passage of Amendment 8 is vital to modernizing Florida’s public education system and making it more responsive to the needs of students and parents.

President Donalds of 8isGREAT.org offered the following:

“Amendment 8 is Great for Florida’s future, and we are committed to communicating that message to all Floridians. As school board members, we are convinced that fresh ideas and diverse opportunities for innovation are essential to creating a system of public education that works for every student. When it comes to the policy necessary to deliver that change, Amendment 8 is Great!”

Fundraisers are being planned in major Florida cities for the months of July and August, and a fully modern campaign is in the works.

To learn more, visit: http://8isGREAT.org

Contact:

8isGREAT.org President, Erika Donalds

(239) 287-6287 or info@8isGREAT.org

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