Fla. Supreme Court Considers Education Case That Includes Jacksonville Woman

Nov 7, 2018

The Florida Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Thursday in a nearly decade-old legal challenge to the state’s education system.

Gainesville-based Southern Legal Counsel filed suit in 2009 claiming the state was failing to provide a quality education as mandated by a voter-approved constitutional amendment in 1998.

One of the plaintiffs is Eunice Barnum, who lives on Jacksonville’s Northside. Her children were in elementary school when she signed onto the lawsuit.

“They were failing in math, failing in reading, even though they were there every day. I mean, who wakes their children up out of the bed to send them to a school to fail? They could stay home and fail.”

Barnum said her kids, who are now in high school, deserved much better.

“The Constitution clearly says that it’s the paramount duty of the state to provide a high quality education. And, you know, when I went to school, ‘F’ was never considered high quality.  It just wasn’t.”

Two lower courts have said implementing the constitutional amendment is up to state lawmakers.

But, Barnum and the other plaintiffs in Citizens for Strong Schools versus the Florida State Board of Education want their case retried, this time with guidance from the high court.

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at choskinson@wjct.org, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter @cydwjctnews.