Local mother spearheads lawsuit against state board of education

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Updated: 8/08/2013 9:49 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida spends thousands of dollars less on its students than other states and one local mom is suing the state to get that changed.

Sheila Andrews put her two boys through the Duval County public school system.

Over the years, she became an education advocate and paid her way through teacher training courses.

Now she's tackling the state school system in the court of law.

Action News obtained the legal complaint filed against the Florida Board of Education and two ranking elected leaders at the Statehouse.

It presents evidence the system is inefficient and needs an overhaul in how school funds are appropriated.

State education officials tell me they moved to dismiss the case based on it being a political issue not in the court's jurisdiction.

The First District Court of Appeals voted 8-7 to allow it to move forward.

The defendants then appealed to the state Supreme Court, but justices sent it back to circuit court in Tallahassee.

"They will allocate more dollars per child so that they can pay high-quality teachers to come to Florida,” said Andrews.

According to numbers from the Public Education Finances report, Florida spent $8,887 on each public school student in 2011.

The national average at that time was about $10,500.

Florida ranked 42nd in student spending.

Andrews is listed as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. She hopes more money will funnel into our local schools when the case is settled.

An attorney with Southern Legal Counsel, which filed the lawsuit, expects the case will go to trial by fall 2014.

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