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Charter schools dump cash into school board term limits amendment

For-profit charter school companies are footing most of the bills for a committee backing Amendment 8, which would impose eight-year term limits on school board members, among other things.

According to recent campaign finance reports, has taken in $54,532 in contributions since mid-May, with a majority of that money coming in from charter school companies.

Jupiter-based GreenAccess and Sarasota-based Florida Overseas Investment Center each forked over $15,000, while Fort Lauderdale-based Red Apple Development cut the committee a check for $10,000.

In addition to overseeing charters, GreenAccess runs a program that helps immigrants get green cards via the EB-5 program in exchange for an investing in a for-profit charter.

“Using the Immigrant EB 5 Investor Visa Program, GreenAccess delivers foreign individuals and their families successful immigration to the U.S. via safe investing in Florida public schools,” the company’s website states. “GreenAccess defines ultimate success as facilitating clients’ ability to immigrate and remain in the US (including Miami and South Florida) as permanent, legal residents – Green Card holders. GreenAccess’ process melds and maximizes the benefits of both the EB5 loan and equity models.”

Florida Overseas Investment Center runs a similar program.

Amendment 8 was placed on the ballot by the Constitution Revision Commission. It was sponsored by CRC member and Collier County School Board member Erika Donalds, who also serves as chair of the political committee.

Earlier Thursday, the League of Women Voters of Florida filed a lawsuit in Leon County Circuit Civil court Thursday calling Amendment 8 “affirmatively misleading” and seeking to have it removed from the ballot. Their issue is with another provision that would let for-profit charters avoid having to get approval from local school boards before opening.

Amendment 8 is one of 13 measures that will go before voters in the 2018 general election. Proposed amendments need at least 60 percent approval to be added to the state constitution.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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