Trial Over Florida’s Schools Finally Begins

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A potentially far-reaching trial that will determine whether the Florida Legislature is shortchanging public schools is starting in a Tallahassee courtroom.

Six years ago education groups as well as parents from Duval and Pasco counties filed their lawsuit. It contends the Legislature and state officials have not provided enough money to the state’s schools as required under a constitutional amendment passed in 1998.

The lawsuit cites the academic performance of minorities and students from poor families as proof that the state is failing its children. The lawsuit is challenging Florida’s testing system and the system set up under former Gov. Jeb Bush.

Attorneys for the state have disputed the lawsuit but they have been unsuccessful to get it dismissed.

The non-jury trial could last as long as five weeks.