Hold on to your wallet, folks.
Your government is preparing to sue your government -- again. This time it's Florida school boards -- including Volusia -- gearing up against the state of Florida.
At issue is a state-approved provision for "schools of hope” charter schools that would take away money from local school districts and open without local board approval.
That's unconstitutional, according to Volusia, Orange, Polk and other school districts. They and other districts are prepping for a legal battle -- a showdown funded on both sides by taxpayers in Florida.
It's enough to make your head spin. And it should trigger a gag reflex, too.
After all, participating local school districts are being asked to pony up litigation costs. In Volusia, that's as much as $25,000. And schools are already strapped for cash.
True, $25K isn't a lot compared to the entire school district budget. And you can't blame them for taking a stand. That's what we teach our kids to do.
This battle is hard to define by dollar signs. And, quite frankly, I'm sick of it.
As a parent with three school-age kids, I'm furious local school district leaders are being forced into battle against state leaders who are just trying to ram "school reforms" down our throat.
At the local level, no one is asking for it.
The parents I talk to at school functions are pleased with the quality of education in Volusia County. The teachers are pros. The administrators are savvy and support staffers are hard working and dependable. Sure, there's been bumps along the way. But they've been dealt with promptly and in a professional manner.
And, no, I don't think the school district is perfect. Who is?
On balance, I think I'm getting a good deal for what I spend on public education.
What's frustrating is the distractions from Tallahassee. On one hand, they're complaining to the feds about maintaining local control. On the other hand, they're dreaming up these local "reforms" that nobody I know really wants.
I have yet to meet a parent who says they want their child's education to be an experiment cobbled together by politicians and special interest groups. Not a single one.
I'm open to reform. But I want it done in an academic environment - not a political one.
That said, this conflict isn't anything new. Electing new leaders isn't bringing any new solutions - despite all the campaign promises. It's time to look for new ways to change the system.
If you're game, it's time to step up.
Enter the Florida Constitution Revision Commission.
Once every 20 years, this panel convenes to recommend amendments to the state Constitution.
It's a historic opportunity. But, unfortunately, not a very sexy one. So it doesn't get many headlines. But it's a real shot at reform. So let's take it seriously.
Time is running out. The deadline to submit proposals is Sept. 22. So don't waste time if you're interested.
And, yes, I realize there's plenty of politics at play on the commission.
Members include Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and appointees from the governor, Florida Senate president, speaker of the Florida House and chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court. But it's also a rare opportunity for ordinary folks to get involved in state government.
Take a moment and poke around the website. They've made it really easy to navigate and inviting.
About 1,000 proposals have already been submitted.
There's even a way to submit proposals directly to the commission in "in plain language."
If you've got a gripe or -- even better -- a solution. It's time to speak up. I know I will.