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Monday, July 31, 2017

Chartrand's bought and paid for politicians turn up the heat against DCPS

It's a fact DCPS that DCPS spent 21 million more than it budgeted for last year but have you noticed who wasn't taking any heat for that? Vitti the Teflon superintendent is who. 

The board aware of the issue is taking steps to find out what happened but do you know who that is not good enough for? Politicians that Gary Chartrand bought and paid for, donated to. Gary Chartrand by the way recently tried to blackmail the district into keeping his pet projects showing his true colors.

From the Times Union:
State Rep. Jason Fischer, R-Jacksonville, and State Rep. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, last week sent letters asking the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee to audit Duval’s finances. Both cited district statements recently that it spent $21 million more than expected on district operations as their reasons for the audit request.
State House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land ‘O Lakes, asked in an tweet, “What are they afraid of? $21 million over budget & resisting an audit?” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry retweeted it and said he concurs.
Lenny Curry who carried Chartrands water with the JCC having them change the rules so his pet charter school could reap hundreds of thousands in tax payer dollars, has joined the fray.
Luckily there are decent politicians out there who have resisted, also from the Times Union:
Nevertheless, state Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, chairwoman of the joint auditing committee, resisted, saying the state recently completed an operational audit and she’d rather wait while Duval does its own independent audit
Paula Wright a proponent of the lawsuit against HB 7069 that Fischer, Corcoran, Chartrand and apparently Curry support, pushed back.
“Why is it so unreasonable to allow us to do the audit we want done,” she asked. “Can we do that before we pass judgment? I’m disappointed and frustrated (by the criticism) because its unnecessary.”
She said she feels the need to defend the district from such criticism, which she said is ill-informed and being manipulated to dissuade the district from a lawsuit.
“It doesn’t feel good to have everybody taking pot shots at us,” she said. “There’s been nothing nefarious. Everything, if we spent more on (student) programs, how bad is that?”
When asked if former Superintendent Nikolia Vitti would have faced similar scrutiny had he not left to head Detroit schools in May, Wright said the School Board would still have questions about spending.
She said school boards generally don’t handle the day-to-day operations of a district’s finances; the superintendent does.
“This is all about the 2016-17 budget under Dr. Vitti,” she said. “Whatever comes out is a result of what was shared or not shared with us. We’re trying to be deliberately purposeful when looking at the numbers so we can learn from the process.”
Some Board members during Vitti’s four-year tenure criticized him in his evaluation for not being more open about spending and district finances.
When the Board approved a tentative budget in September for 2016-17, Begley told the board that it looked as if Vitti did not have the funds to pay for 20 cabinet “add-on” positions and it looked as if $8 million was taken from maintenance salaries and benefits.
Fischer, and Curry need to remember they work for the people of Jacksonville, not an out of touch millionaire who writes them big checks. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

If a republican politician in Tallahassee is talking, they are probably lying, enough is enough

Via Facebook, by Julie Delagal 

In 2007, Charlie Crist's education budget allotted $7,126 in per pupil dollars. According to the US Dept. of Labor's CPI calculator, it would cost $8,377.89 to buy the same value in today's dollars that $7,126 bought in 2007. 

The Space Coast Daily reports that the Governor signed a budget THIS YEAR, ten years later, with a per pupil figure of $7,296. 

When we plug that 2017 number into the calculator to see how it compares to the 2007 figure, we get $6,205.78. In actuality, the per pupil funding is going backwards for Florida's schoolchildren, despite claims of "record funding" by lawmakers, who would misdirect our attention to the aggregate figure. We have more students, not more money

It is sad to say but if a republican politician in Tallahassee is speaking, there is a good chance he is lying. 

The anti-education politicians in Tallahassee often speak of blowing up the status quo, but the real status quo is how republicans have been completely in charge of our state government for nearly 20 years, COMPLETELY in charge. That is the status quo we must end.

Are there problems in education? Definitely but most in Florida have been caused by the republican party who chronically under funds education, is more concerned about rewarding their campaign donors, undermines local control, ignores poverty, blames and handicaps the teaching profession  and engages in crony-capitalism, isn't enough enough?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Being on the school board has been very lucrative for Scott Shine

I looked at his ethics commission filing, ha ha hah ha, sorry, I found it funny I used the word ethics when writing a piece about Mr. Shine.

Follow the link and you can see the filings for yourself.

On 6/2015, he said his net worth was 2,152,791.

On 6/1/2016, it went to 2,327,727

Then this year it jumped all the way to, 2,690,731.

So after three years on the board and his net value has gone up over 25 percent.

I wonder how many other people working in the district can say that.

Also I want to remind you that this millionaire said the district, in the midst of a financial crisis, should pony up extra money to save , Gary Chartrand, his donor's pet projects.

from the Times Union

Duval Board member Scott Shine said he believes the district should not endanger future private donations by failing to find a few hundred thousand more for QEA programs. “I think it’s important to maintain that relationship,” he said. “I’d like us to do what we can to fund the programs. …. We’re only a couple hundred thousand dollars away.”

Um Scott, after your recent windfalls, maybe you should pay the extra costs, you can apparently afford it.  

Scott Shine, Gary Chartrand and Jason Fischer all cut from the same dirty cloth.

A few weeks ago Gary Chartrand threatened to withhold promised money from the district if the board didn't do what he wanted them to do.

From the Times Union;

The Quality Education for All Fund, or QEA for short, wrote letters to all seven Duval School Board members, threatening to cut ties with the district if it reneges on an “implicit understanding” that the district would continue supporting the programs.

An implicit understanding? Um what???

Then today Jason Fischer tried to bully and intimidate the board by demanding an audit and in doing so, he as much sited Gary Chartrand as a reason why.

Also from the Times Union:  Fischer said in his letter that Duval’s “questionable budgeting practices” have triggered a pushback from the philanthropic sector. Recently local philanthropists sent a letter pressuring the school board to spend more on some of the donors’ favored educational programs.

So where does Shine come in? Oh instead of supporting the district, he supported Chartrand and Fischer.


Board member Scott Shine said he agrees with Fischer that the district finance office “made a considerable mistake.” He added that a state audit could be part of an additional, “peer review” of district finances.

Duval Board member Scott Shine said he believes the district should not endanger future private donations by failing to find a few hundred thousand more for QEA programs. “I think it’s important to maintain that relationship,” he said. “I’d like us to do what we can to fund the programs. …. We’re only a couple hundred thousand dollars away.”

These three men represent all that is wrong with education and as you can see Chartrand and Fischer aren't above using bullying, and intimidation to get what they want while Shine just shrugs his shoulders and goes along.

Scott Shine continuously goes against the district's interests.

Jason Fischer tried to use the state to bully the district today by sending a letter to the state auditor requesting an audit, a notion the auditor rebuffed.

From the Times Union:

Mayfield said of Fischer’s letter that she is unlikely to recommend a special audit for now, not until the district completes its own forensic audit.
“We want the School Board to operate independently; we want them to take responsibility for their own district,” she said. “My view is, give them enough time to take care of their issues. It appears to me that they’re being proactive.”
Even though this is nothing but straight up bullying on the behalf of Fischer's campaign donors, Scott Shine endorsed the idea.
Also from the Times Union:
Board member Scott Shine said he agrees with Fischer that the district finance office “made a considerable mistake.” He added that a state audit could be part of an additional, “peer review” of district finances.
The thing is Shine knows the district is preparing anther audit but instead of supporting the district, he sides with Fischer and his charter school friends, people looking to make a buck off our children who are attempting to bully and intimidate the board.
District two, get your head out of your @#$ and find somebody who cares about improving our schools and helping our children and get rid of this guy before he does anymore damage.

Fischer's letter requesting an audit, notice how he brings up Chartrand

Jason Fischer shows his true colors (again), threatens the district.

I don't use a lot of curse words in the blog. I also try not to call people names. I have to tell you it took all I had not to do both in this piece. 

Jason Fischer, oh heck let me just let his words do his talking for him, from the Times Union: 

Fischer wrote a letter to State Senator Debbie Mayfield, chairwoman of the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee, calling for an audit of Duval’s operations, in part because the board is considering suing the state.
“I’m deeply concerned that the school district is taking their (SIC) eye off the ball by considering frivolous lawsuits against the State rather than getting their financial house in order,” Fischer wrote.
Frivolous law suit? Hmm he doesn't mention how many of his donors, charter school interests will directly benefit from HB 7069. Holy conflict of interest Batman, People who gave him thousands of dollars are about to reap millions in return and he has the nerve to threaten the district?
Oy vey!!!  
Oh and the board has already been audited three times this year but he wants to spend more money to do it again, talk about frivolous.
This guy was a pox on our schools when he was a SB member an he has taken his self promotion to new heights in the state house.
He doesn't care about our schools or children, just carrying water for his donors and political bosses in the hopes of advancing his career.
He and that is despicable.

Becki Couch needs to be less cost advertent about joining a HB 7069 lawsuit (rough draft)

Let me start by saying I think Mrs. Couch in her second term has done an excellent job representing the schools, teachers and children of Jacksonville. She is prepared and passionate and a great advocate and if you thought you heard a "yeah but" coming there is.

Since last fall Mrs. Couch has been questioning our budgeting procedures and rightfully so as a recent Times Union report said we spent 21 million more last year than we budgeted for.

Then there is Gary Chartrand and the QEA blackmailing threatening to withhold five million dollars unless they get their way.

Worst of all however is House Bill 7069 which threatens to annually siphon away millions of dollars from the district and send quite a bit of it to for profit companies.

From the Times Union: Duval Schools will be forced to share about $16 million of its capital dollars with charter schools over the next five years under the guidelines of the newly signed education law, district officials said.

After all of above you are probably thinking she has every right to be cost advertent about spending money and joining or starting a lawsuit against HB 7069, and the reason is not because she disagrees with it, she was very outspoken against HB 7069 but her reservations come because she wants to know the costs. Here is the "yeah but" to heck with the costs.
The district stands to lose 16 million dollars over the next 5 years because of HB 7069. Shouldn't we be more than willing to spend 20 or 25 thousand or a lot more in an effort not to lose that money? If we need to shouldn't we go through the couch cushions, start a go-fund me page, do car washes and bake sales or whatever the beep it takes to stop the legislature from kneecapping public ed and robbing it of millions and millions of dollars?

I know Mrs. Couch is against HB 7069, I also believe she is for a lawsuit but she is concerned about the potential costs. The thing is, at this point in the game we can't worry about how much it costs, even in these dire times, because if HB 7069 is fully realized, next year will be worse as will the year after that and so on. We have to draw a line in the sand, even if it costs money, our children and schools deserve it.

Mrs. Couch I get it, and I am both proud of you and appreciative, but here is the thing, you have fought so hard for so long it would be a shame to step back now. 

Who won't Scott Shine throw under the bus?

At the school board meeting to discuss joining or initiating a lawsuit against the state of Florida for the disastrous, public school kneecapping, crony capitalism endorsing House Bill 7069, Mr. Shine said the members of the Jacksonville delegation were uninformed as to what was in the bill and that they were afraid of speaker of the house Richard Corcoran. He basically called the members of the Jacksonville delegation at best ignorant and gutless. he called one of these men, Aaron Beam a friend of his.

He basically through these men under the bus and it got me to thinking, who else has he thrown under the bus.

Immediately Ashley Smith-Juarez comes to mind. During her term as chair of the board Scott Shine went behind her, and the boards back several times last fall when he thought she was trying to force former superintendent Vitti, violating board procedures and norms when doing so..

Then there are his constituents. Shine supported the creation of a charter school run by the for profit entity CUSA in district 2, despite their track record in Duval which is mixed at best, the fact district 2 already has great schools and the new school will siphon resources away from them and the fact Vitti said he wouldn't have allowed the school open up in a less affluent neighborhood, gosh I hope no poor kids go there. None of this made a difference to Shine.

Finally he attempted the throw the district's teachers under the bus, or the majority of them anyways. Shine says he did a study which indicated union teachers of which 56% of the district's teachers are did worse than non union teachers and it would be a "strategic advantage' for them to be fired. You know because he believes union teachers suck and everything wrong in education is the fault of unions.

Full disclosure in case the lawsuit cowboy wants to send me a threatening email or have an attorney do so, that part in bold is just my opinion based on what I have seen and heard from him, as far as I can tell he has never used those exact words.

Teachers, his constituents, children, well poor children, his colleague and the Jacksonville delegation, of which he calls at least one member a friend have all been thrown under the metaphorical bus by Shine.

District 2 his term will be up before you know it and you have to do better.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The interesting things Scott Shine said today at the special board meeting.

I have to tell you this guy must be a hoot to be around, I mean if he is this informal at board meetings whats he like after a few drinks.

When talking about HB7069 he said,  “If I thought that litigation would work, I’d be on that like a bad rash,”.

Oh my, a bad rash!!! 

To give himself some bonafides, he referred to himself as the "lawsuit cowboy" and as somebody he has threatened to sue a couple times I can attest to that.

Who wants to bet he has other nicknames for himself as well?

Oh and as the meeting was wrapping up he also announced to all those in attendance, he had to pee, hey if you have to go you have to go, but now I wonder what he did when he disappeared for about 15 minutes.

Perhaps however the most inexplicable thing he said was that he unequivocally supports teachers and anybody who says other wise must be lying. I am not directly quoting him and am instead going on memory, when the audio becomes available I will try and remember to look it up, but that was the gist and if true a great sentiment to have.

The thing is he said this despite saying in the Beaches Leader, "the Strategic advantage of converting union-heavy public schools to non-union charters would be a direct connect to eliminating union member jobs..."

Now that is a direct quote, those are his words. Funny, they don't sound to supportive of teachers to me.

Like I said, what a hoot. 

Yesterday was a very bad day for education in Florida.

First the State Supreme Court said district's could fail children for not taking the Florida Standardized test. So much for parental choice right?

From the Orlando Sentinel:

The Florida Supreme Court has declined to take up a lawsuit brought by parents who told their children not to answer questions on the state third-grade reading test and then sued when the students were barred from fourth grade.

The top court’s decision leaves in place an earlier ruling by the 1st District Court of Appeal. Judges on that panel, overturning an earlier favorable ruling by a circuit judge, decided against the parents and ruled that the school districts, including those in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, had been improperly sued in Tallahassee.
The court case filed in August was an effort by Florida’s “opt-out” movement — a group opposed to high-stakes testing — to challenge state laws in place for more than a decade. Those laws say that testing is mandatory for public school students, and that students who fail Florida’s third-grade language arts exam can be kept from fourth grade.
So a student can get straight As, show mastery of the material and just because they and their family don't want them to participate in a testing system gone amok, at least in third grade anyways they can be failed and forced to repeat the year. That is the up is down and black is white logic that permeates Florida.
If that wasn't bad enough, the FLDOE published it's rules on recess and I warn you get ready to SMH.
from the Palm Beach Post: 
Daily recess in Florida’s public elementary schools is now law. What will that look like when the first bell rings in August? It’s still unclear – but it doesn’t have to be outside, according to a one-page memo to superintendents that went out last week.
“This law does not specify the location where recess must be provided. The recess minutes could be provided indoors or outdoors,” the memo from the State Department of Education reads.
Now I get it, sometimes it may be raining and you don't want schools to weasel out of having recess, that's reasonable and even laudable, unfortunately we live in Florida and the laudable often turns out to be a disaster, charter schools and using the lotto money on education anyone?
I can just see to many schools and to may classrooms being forced to use this loophole to cut back on recess in exchange for more test prep which has been the problem for years now.
Why put a memo out at all? Does the FLDOE think teachers wouldn't have been able to figure it out when it was raining? Or did they do so winking at those superintendents who fought against recess, to give them an out, my bet it is the latter. Also just a reminder, charters are exempt from the recess rules, what a selling point, come to our charters we are exempt from letting kids be kids.

To read more, click the link:
Yesterday was another dark day for education, sadly I haven't seen a bright one  in a while. 

Scott Shine's gutless response to 7069

After presenting himself as a selfless fighter against House Bill 7069 (he emailed or maybe texted his good friend Aaron bean who voted for the bill), a bill he has also lauded because he believe union teachers will lose their jobs, he had a rather gutless reaction as to what the board should do next.

First he said we should not engage in a law suit because we should not anger the Florida legislature and that they would somehow punish the district. He also said many members of the legislature didn't want to vote for it but they did because they were scared of the speaker of the house and various committee chairs, I guess they may be gut less as well.

As bad as that is what he said next was worse.

From the Times Union:
Shine said most legislators didn’t know the ramifications of the education law before they voted on it, but they were pressured by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land ‘O Lakes and powerful legislative committee leaders, who control the fate of most Tallahassee bills. Suing the state, Shine said, will only worsen the ongoing fight between Corcoran and statewide teachers unions, putting Duval in a vulnerable position.
“If I thought that litigation would work, I’d be on that like a bad rash,” Shine said. “But I don’t believe it will help us.”
If other districts’ lawsuits are successful, Duval could still benefit, Shine said.
If other districts’ lawsuits are successful, Duval could still benefit, Shine said.
Oy vey, he wants other people to fight, while Duval hunkers down in a bunker and sits it out. Isn't that the definition of gutless?
I want school board members like Wright and Hershey who want to fight tooth and nail for our schools and children. I want board members who are passionate about our schools like Couch is.  
We already have a "bad rash" on the board, a rash who isn't on the board because he cares about our schools and children but one who is interesting in placating people who would destroy our schools.
The entire board was for fighting back against HB 7069, though admittedly Smith-Juarez wanted to exhaust other avenues before agreeing to a law suit and Couch had financial concerns (Grymes was not in attendance), except for Scott Shine who was more concerned with not upsetting his friends in Tallahassee. 
When Shine said his friends didn't know the ramifications and were pressured into voting for the bill he basically called them ignorant and gutless.
With a board member like Shine, we definitely don't need enemies. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Scott Shine takes money from the district's blackmailer

This is the Urban Dictionary's definition of black mail:

  Blackmail refers to a situation that arises when a person threatens another person with some form of punishment if they do not offer some form of concessions.

This is what Gary Chartrand recently did, from the Times Union: 
The Quality Education for All Fund, or QEA for short, wrote letters to all seven Duval School Board members, threatening to cut ties with the district if it reneges on an “implicit understanding” that the district would continue supporting the programs.
“We in the private community want to continue to honor our part of the Quality Education for All Fund commitment … but only if we can believe that we can count on the underlying partnership that has existed since we began this journey to improve public education for our most at risk students,” said the letter signed by former Jacksonville Jaguars owner and philanthropist J. Wayne Weaver, who is QEA chairman. Other signers include Gary Chartrand, Lawrence Dubow, Cindy Edelman, Matt Rapp and David Stein.
“If you are not willing to invest in those programs that have proven successful, we must consider that this bond has been broken and we will have no choice but to step back our part of this arrangement until a new understanding can be established.”
First there is a lot of debate and not much data that the programs have been successful but regardless the implication is clear. Chartrand is saying if you don't do what we want you to do then we'e going to take away five million dollars. This is particularly egregious because of the budget shortfall and as a member of the state board of education, Chartrand as far as I can tell did nothing to stop the district's budget from being negatively impacted. 
But here is the kicker, Shine has already taken a thousand dollars from Chartrand, he has taken money from the man who in effect is blackmailing the district.
Oy vey, I can't make this up. Here is a man, Shine who is supposed to support and fight for our schools and instead he is gleefully taking money from a man, Gary Chartrand, a grocer by trade, who is attempting to hold the district hostage. He is saying, do what I want or I will inflict pain on you and Shine doesn't seem to have a problem with it.
Also from the Times Union:
 Duval Board member Scott Shine said he believes the district should not endanger future private donations by failing to find a few hundred thousand more for QEA programs. “I think it’s important to maintain that relationship,” he said. “I’d like us to do what we can to fund the programs. …. We’re only a couple hundred thousand dollars away.”
Shine is bowing down to Chartrand there and the reason is he doesn't represent the people of District 2 and instead he represents Chartrand and his bad ideas. Hey here is an idea, Chartrand and Shine are both millionaires, if they like those programs so much, then why don't they fund them, Shine whines we're only a few hundred thousand dollars away, and he does while most paraprofessionals live below the poverty line. Despicable!  
Neither of these men should be allowed anywhere near our schools let alone be in leadership positions. 
District 2, come on, you have to do better.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Another district joins the HB7069 lawsuit. Why hasn't Duval? One word Chartrand

Today St. Lucie joined the law suit against the public school killing HB 7069.

From TCPalm:  ST. LUCIE COUNTY — The School District is joining the fight against recently passed education reforms. 

School Board members on Tuesday unanimously agreed to jump into a lawsuit, proposed by the Broward County district, challenging the constitutionality of House Bill 7069, a sweeping education bill that has been widely criticized by superintendents, teachers and parents statewide.

Duval sadly has not joined in on the law suit and I think I can explain why in one word, Chartrand.

Look how deferential the board is to the man even after he basically tried to blackmail them by threatening to withhold donations if they didn't do what he wanted them to do. 

From the Times Union:

Board Chairwoman Paula Wright said they tried to meet the QEA’s request to the best of the district’s abilities. She said she hopes to set up a joint meeting between the QEA and the district boards.
“We value the QEA partnership and understand that their commitment and dedication to children is genuine,” she said.
Duval Board member Scott Shine said he believes the district should not endanger future private donations by failing to find a few hundred thousand more for QEA programs. “I think it’s important to maintain that relationship,” he said. “I’d like us to do what we can to fund the programs. …. We’re only a couple hundred thousand dollars away.”
He also predicted that state funding will improve for districts next year...
(Warren) Jones said the district’s top leaders should meet with QEA board members, hash out differences and explain their rationale.
“It is sad that it has gotten to this point,” he said. “The QEA board has done tremendous work in our community and they are to be commended for their philanthropy…. Unfortunately we have a limited budget to operate with.”

I believe Chartrand, undoubtedly a supporter of 7069 has the school board running scared and that is why they are not opposing it.

Gary Chartrand, a grocer by trade, while the district is going through a budget shortfall, tried to blackmail the board and instead of telling him to go ^%$& himself, several members of the board, two of which received money from Chartrand are bending over backwards to placate him and his thugish behavior. That is unacceptable.
The board and I mean other than just Couch and Hershey need to recognize they represent the people of Jacksonville not this millionaire who sent his children to expensive and exclusive private schools and who doesn't even live in the city.
Come on School Board send this guy packing, his donation is not worth the cost.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Scott Shine is all over the map when talking about the district's budget. Looks like he doesn't know what he is talking about.

First District 2, we need to have a come to Jesus moment. You voted for this guy and sure he had name recognition and more money than all his opponents combined but he also lacked the knowledge and ability to do his job. You have to do better.

Think I am being to harsh? Continue reading and then let me know if you feel the same.

In the Times Union when talking about a budget shortfall and dipping into the district reserves to cover it. 

Duval Board member Scott Shine said he believes the district should not endanger future private donations by failing to find a few hundred thousand more for QEA programs. “I think it’s important to maintain that relationship,” he said. “I’d like us to do what we can to fund the programs …. We’re only a couple hundred thousand dollars away.”
He also predicted that state funding will improve for districts next year.
He says this year is just a blip, well here is what he said just a few weeks ago.
 He calls the budget shortfall created by HB 7069 catastrophic, not that he didn't say he supported it anyway because union teachers will lose their jobs. He didn't say, oh don't worry, it's just a bump in the road like he did in the Times Union.
Then before that in News4Jax, he didn't think there would be any shortfall at all.
On Friday, Scott vetoed the $11.4 billion share of the Legislature's budget that funded public education. The veto came after education advocates said the Legislature had not provided enough money for public schools in the new budget.
That veto means lawmakers will have to pass a new Florida education finance program bill during next week's special session. Scott and legislative leaders have agreed to add $215 million to the program, increasing per-student spending by some $100 in the coming academic year.
“That should offset, completely, the financial impact that this bill (HB 7069) is going to have on the district,” Duval County Public School Board member Scott Shine told News4Jax Saturday. “We still have the other things in the bill to deal with, but the crisis, in my opinion, was the financial shortfall. It could've been anywhere from $8 million to $30 million, and that would have really put the district and a critical situation.”
Here everything is fine.
On the subject of our budget he says three different things, it's catastrophic (but okay since union teachers will be fired), it's a bump in the road, and we have nothing to worry about and will have plenty of money. 
It turns out he was only off by about 12 million
OY VEY!!!!!!!
District 2, you have to do better.

Becki Couch calls out Gary Chartrand and the board of the QEA

Gary Chartrand had a tantrum in the paper today when some if his ill advised pet projects appeared on the chopping block. Becki Couch who apparently doesn't have time for his childish behavior called him out.

From the Times Union:

Several Duval School Board members said Florida’s newly signed education law also forces the district to cut nearly all department funding and to reel back or eliminate other valuable district programs.
“It seems pretty clear that we’re limited in funding,” Couch said. “If we have an increase in one area, we’ll have a decrease in another. You have to decide what you’re willing to give up.”
Couch and other Board members said QEA leaders could have helped the district’s lobbying effort in Tallahassee to block the new education law. They said few QEA leaders lent their support and political influence in that effort.
“We needed their help on this and we needed people to use their politic connections to support us,” Couch said.
Few local QEA leaders stepped up, to her knowledge, she said. One exception was Michael Ward, newly retired CSX CEO, who wrote a letter to Gov. Rick Scott
Chartrand said QEA leaders decided to “stay out of” the political battle. “We’re not a political organization; we’re here to help fund things that work. They’ve got their own lobbyist,” said Chartrand, who personally contributes tens of thousands of dollars to political campaigns and action committees.
Um what the beep?!? Gary Chartrand isn't political??! This grocer bought himself a seat on the state board of education and he and his family has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to mostly far right and education hating candidates.

This guy is incredible! Look up chutzpah and you will find a picture of him. He's trying to stay out of the political battle, ugh, that is laughable.

Chartrand is the villain of the story who uses his money as a club not to help education but to get what he wants.

Thanks Mrs. Couch for pointing out Chartrand's hypocrisy.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

When will Duval County fight back against House Bill 7069?

Other school districts are. Broward County just appropriated 25 k to do so because their legal counsel said it violated the following provisions.

From the Tampa Times:

- Violates the state's constitutional requirement that bills focus on a single subject, by encompassing more than 60 separate measures.
- Circumvents the constitutional mandate that school boards operate, control and supervise all public schools in their district, with the creation of a separate "schools of hope" charter school system.
- Violates the constitutional rules regarding ad valorem taxes for schools, with the requirement that districts distribute a portion of their capital funding tax revenue to charter schools.
"Although I believe this is a full and accurate review of the legislation, I am sure there are additional details and nuances that would further support the position that a Constitutional challenge is an appropriate action to take at this time," Broward general counsel Barbara Myrick wrote to the board.
Why hasn't Duval County decided to push back as well? School Board members Couch and Hershey along with new Superintendent Willis have all been very vocal with how devastating this bill will be, heck even the Times Union in a moment of clarity came out against it.

In fact only school board member who has openly supported the bill is Scott Shine and he did so because he said a benefit would be certain teachers would lose their job. Yes, folks that's right, he in an op ed in the Beach's Leader said teachers losing their jobs was a good thing.

However Shine can't alone be gumming up the works which makes me think it's possibly the district's close relationship with Gary Chartrand who undoubtedly supports the bill. Though perhaps it is district counsel Karen Chastain who I personally wouldn't let fix a parking ticket for me who has shown some reservations as she did when instead of fighting back against the proliferation of charter schools she threw up her hands and said it wasn't worth doing so, a position other school districts have also disagreed with.

Whatever the reason the board has been hesitant to do something it's past time they decided to join the good fight. This bill is the worst of the worst and should not go unchallenged by our school board. The fate of the districts, teachers, schools and children are at risk and that is not hyperbole that is the reality of the situation.

Come on school board it's time for you to do your job and stand up against those who would dismantle our schools.