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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Duval County picks charter school lobbyist to represent district.

I just threw up in my mouth a little, well friends it seems like the fix is in.
From the Miami Herald: The Duval County school system has a new contract lobbyist -- and it's not who you might expect.
John Sullivan will serve as the district's top advocate in Tallahassee.
Sullivan, 29, comes to Duval County Public Schools having previously lobbied for the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools and the Florida Charter School Alliance.
For education insiders, that's a big leap. Florida school districts and charter schools have had an icy relationship since the economic downturn, partly because they've had to compete for public dollars.
Duval County schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said he wasn't concerned about Sullivan's charter-school background.
"I wanted someone who was fast, responsive and brought a new perspective," Vitti said. "That’s why I went with John. He has experience in Tallahassee, and has been earning the respect of lawmakers and his colleagues."
Before becoming a lobbyist, Sullivan interned for state Rep. Erik Fresen, a Miami Republican who now chairs the Education Appropriations Subcommittee. Sullivan also worked for a consulting firm run by former state Rep. Ralph Arza, R-Miami.
“I have a passion for education and have advocated for all students during the past two [legislative] sessions," Sullivan said. "I look forward to using that experience for the students in Duval, and fighting for them in Tallahassee.”
Vitti said Sullivan's hire is part of a larger plan to make the Duval school system more of a player in Tallahassee.
"It’s part of rebranding who are we are as Duval County Public Schools and thinking more like a large district," he said. "We want to be more involved in policy."
Vitti added that the school district's strategy for competing with charter schools is transparent: "You don’t have to be an insider to know our approach. We’re creating schools that offer better instruction and are more focused on customer service."


1 comment:

  1. Vitti and friends are turning Jacksonville into a charter-school kingdom.

    From the article link below:
    But in 11 major cities, the percentage is much larger, "making charter schools a predominantly urban phenomenon," Moody's said.

    In the New Orleans Public School System, nearly 80 percent of students attend a charter institution, according to Moody's. For Washington, D.C. and Detroit the portion is 40 percent.

    In Albany City School District, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, San Antonio Independent School District and St. Louis Public Schools more than 20 percent of students attend charter schools.

    Property tax revenues provide the bulk of school funding. But with the bursting of the housing bubble and financial crises hitting cities, state aid to school districts became increasing vital. States often determine funding using student populations.

    Lower funding for public schools could damage their quality, and in turn push more students into charters, Moody's said.

    In Detroit, enrollment in public schools fell 58 percent between 2002 and 2012. While the city's overall population decline contributed to the fall, many students also left for charters. In 2012, Detroit public schools received $495 million in state aid, compared to $1.2 billion in 2002, Moody's said.

    For Philadelphia, where education funding problems have grabbed national headlines, the transfer into charter schools has been swift, with charter enrollment nearly doubling in four years. The school district could not cut costs quickly enough to counterbalance the plunge in funds, Moody's said.

    President Barack Obama believes charters can improve U.S. public education. Last month, his administration awarded $2.8 million in grants for expanding charter schools.