U.S. Term Limits commends Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for signing the bill that enforces eight-year term limits for school board members. U.S. Term Limits (USTL) began advocating for term limits for school boards in 2017. Efforts have included participation in town hall meetings, the Florida State Supreme Court, the Constitution Revision Commission, and multiple legislative sessions. The bill applies to 358 Florida school board members across 69 districts.
USTL President, Philip Blumel credits the organization for initiating and driving the advocacy for term limits for school board members. “Many of us went up to Tallahassee, and we brought lots of activists to testify in favor of this statute. We also attended town halls during the constitutional revision commission battle going back several years for this cause,” said Blumel.
Florida State Senator Blaise Ingoglia and House Rep. Alex Rizo sponsored the bills that were passed 30-7 in the state senate and 79-29 in the state house. Term limits for school boards in Florida is particularly important due to school board members being paid what amounts to a full-time salary for part-time positions. Similar to members of Congress, it becomes almost impossible to unseat incumbent members of school boards due to their connections and campaign contributions.
Nick Tomboulides, Executive Director of U.S. Term Limits, sees term limits for school board members as a unifying issue in Florida that crosses party lines. “With the passage of this bill, I am confident this proposal will bring new energy and ideas to school boards that too often suffer from the same untamed incumbency that paralyzes Congress,” he said.
Tomboulides went on to explain that school districts are an ideal venue for rotation because the responsibilities entrusted to boards are too important to be tainted by politics. “When deciding how to direct the $21 billion in funds they receive, board members should be asking ‘how will this improve our schools?’ rather than ‘how will this benefit me personally?'” he said.
Term limits for school board members will help ensure that the needs of students and their communities are prioritized, making school board governance more effective, efficient, and accountable.