Election Integrity

Partisan School Board Races Backed In Florida Senate

Election Integrity
Source: TFP File Photo

A proposed constitutional amendment that seeks to move to partisan school-board elections in Florida continued to advance Monday in the Senate. Members of the Senate Education PreK-12 Committee voted 6-2 to approve the proposal (SJR 94), which would go on the 2024 ballot.

If the proposal is ultimately approved by the Legislature and voters, school-board candidates could run with party affiliations starting in 2026.

The Constitution currently requires nonpartisan school-board races. Senate sponsor Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, called it a “transparency” proposal.

In the news: Florida Senate Panel Backs Change In School Start Times

“This is for the voter. This is for full transparency, and I can promise you that we are way past the idea that these races are nonpartisan,” Gruters said.

But opponents questioned the need for such a change. “I don’t understand why it’s necessary. I don’t understand what benefit there is to communities,” Sen. Lori Berman, D-Boca Raton, said. “We’ve already politicized our school boards, and at this point, why would we want to do it anymore?”

The proposal needs approval from the Senate Rules Committee before it could be considered by the full Senate. The full House is slated Thursday to take up an identical proposal (HJR 31).

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