Floridians have not witnessed such an avalanche of legislation intended to shift tax payer dollars which once went to public schools to the education for profit industry. Scathing Purple Musings wrote yesterday that a senate bill would turn over children’s private information to testing corporations to stay in line with Florida’s move to Common Core Standards. The House was at it yesterday and passed a bill through the Appropriations Committee which would give more taxpayer dollars to for-profit charter school and allow them to seize unused public school property at no cost. Times-Herald Tallahassee Bureau reporter Mary McGrory writes:
The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a sweeping charter school bill that would, among other things, require traditional public schools to share empty classroom space with charter schools.
The bill from Rep. George Moraitis, R-Fort Lauderdale, would also require the state Department of Education to adopt a model charter school contract that could not be amended by the school or the district.
The debate over charter-school funding is expected to be among the most contentious of the legislative session. Like other public schools, charter schools receive taxpayer dollars for things like teacher salaries and educational materials. But they do not receive money for construction and maintenance.
Moraitis said his proposal would ease the financial burden on charter schools.
The Moraitis bill also includes several provisions meant to hold charter schools more accountable for their finances and academic performance. For example, it would prevent employees of the charter school or the charter management organization from serving on the school’s governing board. Employee spouses would also be unable to serve on the board.
Still, representatives from several school districts and the Florida Association of School Administrators spoke out against the bill.
Not surprisingly, the budget committee approved the bill along party lines.
A separate fund was established in the last session for charter school construction; and a philanthropic fund – which included taxpayer dollars – was established for capital funding in a year that public schools received none. Moraitis bill wants to mandate that school boards commit funding from property taxes in their counties.
Moraitis, like the rest of charter school’s handmaidens in the legislature, don’t want Floridians to know that charter schools don’t come close to providing the same services as do public schools. The bill is being pushed by Charter Schools USA’s lobbyist, Jim Horne. As a former education commissioner of Florida, Horne knows this. The charter school land grab is particularly obscene when one understands that Charter Schools USA has successfully secured three loans totally over $200 million since 2010. Moraitis claim that his bill would “ease the financial burden on charter schools,” becomes even more laughable in light of Charter Schools USA plan to build an $11 million dollar facility in Jacksonville.