U.S. Term Limits (USTL), a Florida-based group which leads the national term limits movement, on Tuesday praised State Senator Lauren Book and State Representative Anthony Sabatini for filing legislation (SJR1480 and HJR157) to term limit all school board members in Florida to eight years in office.
“Education is too important to be entrusted to self-serving career politicians,” said Nick Tomboulides, executive director of U.S. Term Limits. “Eight-year term limits will put a check on corruption, stymie special interests and allow for fresh faces to emerge. We applaud Sen. Book and Rep. Sabatini for stepping up to give the people of Florida a vote on term limits.”
According to a 2018 poll by McLaughlin & Associates, 82 percent of Florida voters support a constitutional amendment term limiting all school board members to eight years. That includes backing from 85 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of independent voters. A 2019 poll by Pulse Research found that 84 percent of voters prefer a limit of eight years for school boards, as opposed to just 10 percent who say a 12-year limit would be best.
Governor Ron DeSantis has also endorsed the amendment for eight-year limits, writing that school boards in Florida “too often suffer from the same untamed incumbency that paralyzes Congress.”
“The benefits of term limits are clear,” DeSantis said. “When an elected official is first seated, he or she comes in with a reformer spirit and desire to deliver change. But perpetual re-election tends to erode that public service outlook and replace it with one of entitlement. Long tenure in office tends to make people forget they work for us, and not the other way around.”
Currently, eight-year term limits apply to the president, governor, attorney general, chief financial officer, agriculture commissioner, state reps, state senators, and countless local positions such as county commissioners and city council members. Since the terms of school board members are dealt with within the Florida Constitution and a majority of counties lack a charter, a constitutional amendment is the only legal way to deliver term limits for school board members across Florida.