Bay area officials question Lee vote on testing

Tampa, Florida -- A Florida school board member is backpedaling quickly after a history-making vote to boycott all state standardized testing, and some Tampa area officials say that was not the right move.

Parents rejoiced after the Lee County School Board voted 3-to-2 to opt-out of all state tests. But now, the deciding vote on the board is changing her mind after the costs of banning the tests and breaking state law are becoming clear.

Under several Florida laws, the Lee County School District cannot just "defect."

What would a school district lose by doing this? 10 News dug deeper for details and found this four-page list put together by the Lee School Board's attorney. It shows the costs are enormous.

For students: No high school diplomas and many classes where students can't get any credit.

For teachers: Potentially no raises or bonuses for good performance.

For schools and districts: Likely an incredible loss of funding from several state and federal sources.

School board members in the Tampa Bay area said the vote in Lee County, which drew cheers from its local community, would not be the right response.

"The State of Florida, in general, is tired of teaching to a test," Pasco County School member Steve Luikart said.

"But I do know if we're going to even consider anything like that in this county, we need to look at the financial implications, the implications on students, and how it affects them getting into college."

Hillsborough School Board member Stacy White echoed that mindset.

"I stand with many parents in my community in opposition to what we think is an overutilization of standardized testing," White said.

"However, I did take an oath to uphold the Constitution and laws of the State of Florida."

10 News has learned about a development today: the deciding vote in Lee County has apparently changed her mind and asked for a new school board meeting to undo the boycott.

That's now set to happen Tuesday morning.

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