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Saturday, Oct 21, 2017
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Pinellas votes today on whether to join lawsuit against controversial education bill

The Pinellas County School Board will vote this afternoon on whether to join at least 11 other school districts in a lawsuit against the Florida Legislature over a controversial, charter-friendly bill.

After weeks of deliberation, Pinellas seems ready to vote in favor of joining the lawsuit.

The board is expected to join Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange and other counties in challenging two key parts of the law, known as House Bill 7069, which was signed in June by Gov. Rick Scott. Board members say the law erodes local authority over charter schools and penalizes school districts with relatively little debt, like Pinellas, which now must pay more for charter school construction and maintenance projects.

The district has tried to avoid litigation by seeking the help of local legislators. Officials penned a letter in July asking them to help "lessen the inequity" of the law.

If board members approve the measure, Pinellas would contribute $25,000 in legal costs.

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