Defend public schools & veto HB 7069!
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Today, despite desperate pleas from the state's school boards, superintendents, teachers, parents and professional organizations, our House of Representatives passed without hesitation HB 7069, a bill pulled together to shamelessly tie controversial charter school initiatives into the general education budget that was supposed to serve families by offering recess, minimizing tests and increasing funding for public schools. The bill passed the Senate by just one vote, despite many speaking out about what this will mean for our school system. Senator Gary Farmer called HB 7069 "a monstrosity" that would "hasten the privatization of public education". Others opposing the bill include:
"It is alarming that the basic funding needs of Florida public school students could go unaddressed," Escambia County superintendent Malcolm Thomas, president of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, said.
Andrew Spar, President of the Volusia United Educators and Secretary/Treasurer of the Florida AFL-CIO, calls HB 7069 "the worst education budget bill we have ever seen".
In a press conference today Hillsborough Superintendent Jeff Eakins urged, "Let me make this clear- the budget hurts our children and our schools".
TEACHERS & PARENTS
Hillsborough CTA calls it "a budget that will be devastating to public schools, our students".
From Florida PTA: "As the largest child advocacy association in the state, the Florida PTA's mission has always been to serve and support EVERY child. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that the Florida PTA must oppose conforming bill 7069."
Florida Education Association says lawmakers are "manipulating our legislative process and starving our public schools"
And per the Miami Herald on 5/7/17: Parents who want recess say lawmakers are using kids as ‘pawns in a political game’
These are just a few examples of the language used by state & community leaders, education professionals and families to describe their strong opposition to the proposal. The fact that it was assembled without transparency of any kind and included additions & omissions previously voted on clearly underlines the personal political agenda of a few key lawmakers with a complete disregard for public needs. As a further act of defiance , as reported of the House Speaker:
“Go forth and veto boldly,” Corcoran advised Scott.
Governor Scott, will you be bold enough to stand against this monstrous act of defiance to save our already desperately underfunded schools for the people of the state? Will you please ensure our district schools won't have to give up $140 million (that's crucial to our students) to pay for construction and loan programs for charter schools that will directly compete against them?
Please send the message that public schools matter here in Florida, and it's not acceptable to treat charters more favorably at the expense of every student in a public school whose programs, class time and transportation are currently being cut due to underfunding. Please let members of congress know they cannot play political games with our children and win!
We urge you to please VETO HB 7069!
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