The Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to take up an appeal by the Collier County School Board in a case about whether it violated the state’s Sunshine Law in the handling of meetings of committees that evaluated and ranked textbooks.
Justices, as is common, did not explain their reasons for declining to hear the case. But the decision effectively let stand a September ruling by the 2nd District Court of Appeal. That ruling said the school board violated the open-government law because the public was shut out of meetings of the committees. The nonprofit Florida Citizens Alliance and three individual plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in 2017 alleging violations.
Under a school board policy, the district superintendent was required to establish committees that evaluated textbooks and submitted reports that the board used in approving instructional materials. Also, the school board could not “select a textbook on its own if it disagrees with a textbook committee’s evaluation,” the appeals court said.
“Therefore, we conclude that the textbook committees have been delegated decision-making authority, that the Sunshine Law applies to meetings of the textbook committees, and that those meetings must be open to the public with reasonable notice provided.” The school board took the case to the Supreme Court in November.
–News Service of Florida
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