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Education funding lawsuit heads to state supreme court

By Lynn Hatter

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-994937.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – A long-running dispute over education funding is heading to the Florida Supreme Court. Lynn Hatter reports the state's courts are trying to decide whether they can hear a case that blurs the lines between separation of powers.

Florida's First District Court of Appeals has refused the state's request to dismiss a case that centers on whether the state is properly funding its public schools. The complaint stems from a group which says the legislature is violating the state constitution which calls for an "adequately funded" system of public education. But the lawsuit presents a problem for the courts: they aren't sure whether they can actually hear it or not.

In an 8-to-7 ruling, judges said the state Supreme Court should clarify whether the constitution's language can be used to determine "adequate" funding. But a dissenting opinion says funding is a political issue, and courts shouldn't second guess the legislature when it comes to appropriations.