Gov. DeSantis laments Legislature stopping short on school board term limits

Florida Politics | By A. G. Gancarski | March 15, 2922

‘I think it should be eight years, two terms.’

Gov. Ron DeSantis offered a qualified endorsement Tuesday of legislation (CS/HB 1467) imposing term limits on school board members statewide, but said it didn’t go far enough.

“I’m a big believer in term limits,” DeSantis said. “I think it should be eight years, two terms. They did three terms, which, you know, it’s fine and I wouldn’t veto the bill just over that. But if it were a standalone measure, I would have insisted on just two terms for school board members because I think that’s enough time to go, serve, get stuff done.”

“Is the 12 (years) the worst thing in the world? It may be good,” DeSantis said, “because we have some in the state that have been really entrenched for a long time.”

Eight years are enough for the Governor, he reiterated, saying the House measure was a model of doing it right.

“I’m a huge believer in term limits,” DeSantis added. “It tells these legislators that your time is limited. You come in, leave a legacy.”

In the “big morass” of Washington, DeSantis said, politicians “get elected and stay there as long as they can” because term limits are not in effect.

They “stay there for decades, create these little fiefdoms,” DeSantis decried.

The Governor did not comment on the fact that these term limits won’t affect anyone until well into the next decade.

The new clock starts running after the 2022 election cycle, and board members would be allowed to serve through 2034, however “entrenched” they might be.

A more controversial bit of the legislation, meanwhile, eluded specific comment from the Governor.

The bill will require school districts to list all library and instructional materials in use in an online database, with a multi-step review process before adoption, including a mandatory public hearing and a “reasonable” opportunity for public comment.

It also requires elementary schools to hire a Department of Education trained media specialist to curate materials, and compels school districts to report materials and books that draw public objections. The DOE would then publish that list for circulation to guide content management decisions, including withdrawing texts deemed objectionable from circulation to students.

DeSantis noted that he had not reviewed the legislation, but offered conceptual support for what he called “curriculum transparency” in his remarks.

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