Florida administrators group dropping out of school choice lawsuit

Travis Pillow

One of the original groups that signed on to the lawsuit last August challenging Florida’s tax credit scholarship program has announced it will no longer be a party to the case.

The Florida Association of School Administrators announced its decision to withdraw in a statement posted on its website and first reported by the Gradebook.

Having made our position clear with regards to tax credit scholarships through our participation in the lawsuit thus far, it is time to dedicate the resources of our 5,000 members on the priorities that are the heart of our organization.

Reached by phone, the group’s executive director, Juhan Mixon, said the organization’s “core mission” is to provide professional development to school officials around the state, and that litigation is “not our thing.”

“Our main priorities are teaching and learning,” he said, and the organization’s board, which oversees training for thousands of principals and other school officials, as well as a major digital learning initiative, decided it would be best not “to take resources of our association away from our priority.”

The development was hailed Friday afternoon by Rev. H.K. Matthews, a Pensacola civil rights leader and supporter of a campaign to have the lawsuit dropped.

“Hallelujah. I tip my hat to Dr. Mixon and the board of the Florida Association of School Administrators,” Matthews said in a statement. “This scholarship helps 70,000 of the state’s most underprivileged children, and there is no reason that school principals should be working against their interests. This kind of program strengthens public education, which is why this lawsuit is such a mistake.”

A separate administrative group, the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, never joined the case. The remaining plaintiffs include the Florida Education Association (FEA), the Florida School Boards Association, the Florida PTA and the Florida NAACP.

Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds heard arguments on Feb. 9 about whether the FEA and other groups have proper standing to pursue the lawsuit. His ruling could be issued at any time.

Step Up For Students, which employs the author of this post and co-hosts this blog, helps administer the scholarship program in Florida.

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