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Monday, May 8, 2017

By the numbers, how Tallahassee is seeking to harm our public schools

From Fund Education Now

What exactly has been stuffed into the Conforming bill known as HB 7069?  Remember, most of these ALEC policies are driven by Jeb’s Foundations and assigned to legislators who did their best to avoid public debate. That’s because no one but Jeb, the Koch Bros, and the charter/voucher lobby wants this legislation. Ever seen a parent begging for ways to fund corporate charter welfare, give public land away or erode the authority of duly elected officials?  That would be a resounding “no.”
Here’s the lowdown:
Title 1 Funds
  • Redirects and dilutes Title I funds currently used by districts to provide a variety of district-wide programs that benefit some of the most vulnerable students.
  • Eliminates district-wide programs currently funded with a portion of Title I money such as, AVID, mentorship programs, and some services offered by school transformation offices.
Charters get to grade District public schools
  • Permits charter schools to “grade” school districts on their performance
  • Does not allow for school districts to do the same to charters
Schools of Hope/High Impact Corporate Charter welfare (line 184)
  • Creates the “Schools of Hope” program, funded with $140 million by the legislature for out of state charters to take over the education of the most vulnerable students in Florida with zero proof that there is any record of success in turning around schools.
  • Redirects further funding from traditional public schools and provides a corporate welfare program for charters.
  • Does not require the charters to service the students in the schools that they are taking over.
  • Increases the number of schools subject to charter take over because it requires school districts to prepare emergency plans if any school in the district earns a “D” or “F”.
  • Language from HB 7101, including the mandate that school districts use a standard contract and any amendments to the contract are deemed to violate charter schools flexibility per statute.
  • Allows charters to use district facilities at a deeply discounted rate that my not reflect the fair market value of properties.
  • Allows just 25 schools from districts to compete for Schools of Hope funding. If the state invested in funding struggling schools, Schools of Hope would be redundant.
Charter School Land Use
  • Allows charter schools to bypass any land use or zoning requirements of local jurisdictions.
  • Preempts the authority of local jurisdictions and doesn’t permit local community participation on land use or zoning decisions that potentially affect their property uses and values.
  • Doesn’t allow for local governments or local citizens to evaluate the impacts on their communities caused by charter schools on issues such as traffic capacity and consistency with approved uses already in place.
  • School districts are not given the same flexibility as corporate charter chains.
Charter access to public facilities
  • Allows charters to use district facilities at a deeply discounted rate that my not reflect the fair market value of properties.
  • Requires districts to report to DOE if any facility or portion of a facility is vacant, underused, or surplus.
  • Expands the current requirement of reporting surplus properties.
  • Could result in a charter school operating simultaneously as an operating public school, affecting the ability of a district to properly plan for future growth.
  • Grants charter schools sovereign immunity equal to what public entities currently have under state law.
Charters can hire non-certified teachers
  • Allows “Schools of Hope” to hire non-certified teachers and administrators.
  • These teachers and administrators are servicing some of the most vulnerable students in Florida.
  • Why would the standards for these teachers and administrators be lowered?
Exempts corporate charter chains from paying for District services
  • Caps the administration fees a school district may charge a charter for educational services.
  • Exempts Charters from paying for additional services outside the agreed administrative fee, causing Districts to subsidize the cost of these extra services
  • Impedes a district’s ability to provide adequate educational services for students enrolled in its district.
Charters Usurp Superintendent Authority/Schools of Excellence
  • Mandates that a school of excellence be a part of the principal autonomy program which attempts to usurp superintendent powers under the constitution.
  • Caps the administration fees a school district may charge a charter for educational services.
  • If a district provides additional services to a charter outside what is contemplated with the administrative fee, it would result in school districts having to subsidize charter school programs and potentially affect a district’s ability to provide adequate educational services for students enrolled in its district.
Charters Usurp locally elected school boards
  • Grants charter school systems governing board a designation as an local educational agency
  • Allows charters to bypass local control and allowing them to remain largely unaccountable to the public despite receiving a significant amount of taxpayer funding.
School Districts must give Charters a portion of locally levied capital outlay funding
  • Without proof of need, requires a local school district to share its locally derived capital outlay funds with charters,
  • Districts must prove need.
School Grade Manipulation 
  • Requires the educational data from a student that transfers to a private school or comes from a private school to be factored into a school’s grade, despite the fact that the school is not providing educational services to the student.
  • Removes teacher bonus caps for IB, AP, and CAPE without funding.
  • Best & Brightest Teacher Bonus Includes an expansion that adds principals, the qualifications which have no proven correlation with teacher or principal performance. It also provides for teacher bonuses, NOT an increase in pay. Funded at $234 million
  • Teacher Contracts: Contains a provision limiting the employment contracts that school districts may award to teachers.
  • Makes VAM teacher evaluation system optional for districts
  • Mandates 100  minutes of recess for all K-5 students in District public schools
  • Exempts charter schools from this mandate – granting a carve-out from any expenses incurred by the recess mandate


  1. I'm confident Scott will veto this budget if it comes down to it. Not because he cares about public education mind you. But because he wants payback against the speaker of the house for chopping visit florida & corporate welfare. Ironic isn't it?

  2. WOW! These legislators must be trying to get back at some teacher who "gave" them a bad grade! Wonder how many, if any, have children in the public schools?