Florida House panel backs changes to school board elections


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A House panel Wednesday moved forward with two proposals that would revamp county school-board elections.

The House Ethics, Elections & Open Government Subcommittee approved a proposed constitutional amendment (HJR 31), sponsored by Rep. Spencer Roach, R-North Fort Myers, and Rep. Tyler Sirois, R-Merritt Island, that seeks to switch to partisan school-board elections.

Voters in 1998 changed the state Constitution to require non-partisan school board elections.

The House proposal would ask voters in 2024 to move to partisan elections.

Also, the subcommittee approved a bill (HB 411), sponsored by Rep. Kevin Steele, R-Dade City, that would change a residency requirement for school-board candidates.

Under current law, candidates have to live in the districts they are seeking to represent at the time they qualify to run.

The bill would require candidates to live in the districts at the time they assume office.

Supporters said that would put school-board candidates in line with the residency requirement for candidates for other offices, including the Legislature.

A Senate committee Tuesday approved the Senate version (SB 444) of the school-board residency bill.

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