Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida can help. Our responsibility is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

State's Appeal In School Reopen Legal Battle Means Districts Still Under DOE's Order, For Now

Joshua Hoehne

After a Leon County judge sided with the statewide teachers union in the legal battle over reopening brick-and-mortar-schools yesterday, the state has filed an appeal. That means an automatic stay has been applied to the case by the First District Court of Appeals.

As a result of the state’s appeal, school districts for the time being are still under the Department of Education’s order. That includes Leon County – Superintendent Rocky Hanna says the district is gearing up to welcome back 15,000 students to campus:

“So, we’re starting school as planned on Monday,” Hanna said during a meeting Monday night, in anticipation of the appeal’s filing.

Professor Louis Virelli teaches constitutional law at Stetson University – he explained why a stay is commonly applied in high profile cases on appeal.

“When that appellate court makes a decision, if it is different than the decision the trial court made, then whatever the trial court put into effect will have to be reversed,” Virelli told WFSU Tuesday. “So, if the teachers are in the classroom they can be brought out, or vice versa. In a situation like that, the appellate court often stays the trial court decision in order to keep the status quo in place, so we avoid lurching back and forth between all these dramatic changes, while we’re waiting for the final decision on appeal.”

Virelli says the same thing can happen between an appellate court and the state Supreme Court. He made clear why a stay is so often applied in cases involving the state:

“It would be common when the state is a party to the suit, because generally speaking, an instruction by the court to the state is going to have significant consequences to the people in that state,” Virelli said.

In a statement Monday, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said he’s “100 percent confident” the state will win the case on appeal.

Copyright 2020 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.

Ryan Dailey is a reporter/producer for WFSU/Florida Public Radio. After graduating from Florida State University, Ryan went into print journalism working for the Tallahassee Democrat for five years. At the Democrat, he worked as a copy editor, general assignment and K-12 education reporter.