The Senate narrowly passed SB7069 with a 20-18 vote. There are reasons for concern. The best course now is to urge Governor Scott to veto the bill. Here’s why:
- 1) For local districts to share local capital outlay with charter schools is untenable. It will cost districts already struggling with aging facilities, millions of dollars.
- 2) The Schools of Hope proposal allocates $140 million for charter school takeovers of low performing public schools. Yet, the CREDO Urban Cities report just published a devastating account of poor charter school academic performance in Florida cities.
3) Creating High Impact Charter Systems that control groups of charters surely must stress the Florida constitutional requirement for a ‘uniform system of high quality schools’. These charter systems become their own local education agencies. This is a legal term that is now allocated for elected school boards. The charter systems would be able to receive funding directly with no oversight from districts.
4) Allocating Title I funds to individual students in many schools will spread funding too thinly to support extra reading, tutoring and other services many children need.
5) Without funds in the State budget for teacher raises, the looming teacher shortage will increase.
Why would Florida want to advertise itself as anti education to a world where academic achievement attracts the kind of business and industry we seek? This bill is the result of destructive behind closed door power politics, not rational public interest.