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TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – Florida’s education secretary would again be elected by popular vote and not appointed by the governor, under a proposed constitutional amendment.

State Sen. Joe Negron, (R-Stuart), filed the proposal Monday. The measure, SJR 96, would ask voters in 2012 to reverse a 1998 decision which eliminated the Cabinet position and made the secretary of education an appointed position. The commissioner is chosen by the State Board of Education.

Negron called the current setup confusing and said it makes no sense to have an elected agriculture commissioner or chief financial officer but not an education commissioner. Bob Martinez, a Miami attorney and current board member, opposes the move and said schools have improved since the change was made.

It takes a three-fifths vote of the Legislature to put an amendment on the ballot. Sixty-percent of voters must approve the amendment in order for it to pass. If approved, the education secretary would again become a Cabinet level post. The first election would be in 2014.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)


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