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Court Backs Governor On Florida Funding Law

The Florida Supreme Court agrees with Gov. Lawton Chiles that the legislature cannot tinker with the state's school-funding law using other bills.

At stake in the case decided by the court last month was $127 million in the state's $5 billion school budget.

Lawmakers had earmarked that money for districts to use to reduce class sizes in grades 1 through 3.

That provision, however, was passed outside of the legislature's usual appropriations process, and Gov. Chiles said it was an infringement on school districts' ability to manage their general state aid.

The state high court unanimously agreed with the governor. Mr. Chiles already had vetoed the program.

No Fees for Group

The state does not have to compensate the Michigan Association of School Boards for lawyers fees in a lawsuit the group filed that led to a change in the state's school-funding law.

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled last month that individual members of the school boards group cannot collect lawyers fees for the organization because they would not have to pay the group's legal bills.

The decision came in connection with a lawsuit that overturned the state's tax-base-sharing law as unconstitutional.

The state has since modified the law, which previously withheld state aid from wealthy school districts that did not share increases in their local property-tax collections with poorer school districts.

The group had argued that the Michigan tax-limitation amendment allowed individuals who sued under the provision to receive compensation for the cost of legal fees.

Vol. 15, Issue 02

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