After pulling out of a lawsuit challenging Florida’s largest private school choice program, the group that represents the state’s school boards is looking to turn over a new leaf.
In the months after a lawsuit was filed challenging Florida’s largest private school choice program, the Florida School Boards Association saw would-be leaders beaten in elections, a group of pro-school choice members form a rival organization, and legislation that would have limited lawsuits by associations that receive public funds.
The day before the association’s board of directors voted leave the suit, a majority of Indian River School Board members agreed to leave the association.
“We didn’t realize how divisive it was going to be,” said Patty Hightower, who became the FSBA’s president after some of its leaders lost school board seats in last year’s elections. “It was very divisive and hopefully we can move forward.” Caroline Zucker, who succeeded Hightower as president, told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune the conflict over the lawsuit had been “disruptive” and that she hoped the organization could renew its focus on things like member training.
By the time it wrapped up its annual gathering in Tampa last week, the association had not only put the lawsuit behind it, but introduced members to a new executive director and launched a strategic planning process Hightower said could lead to a retooling of the organization.