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5 Questions For Rick Scott About His Support for School Voucher Schemes That Drain Millions from Local Public Schools

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Scott supports ending local control of public schools and giving out of state, for-profit companies control over our children's future 

TALLAHASSEE, FL — As Governor Rick Scott visits a Charter School this morning in Tallahassee to flaunt his support for school vouchers — a policy that would end local control over our public schools and give out-of state corporations and for profit companies control of our children's education — the Florida Democratic Party is releasing the 5 questions Gov. Scott should have to answer:  

"Instead of supporting our teachers and students, Republicans like Rick Scott are trying to end local control of our public schools, giving for-profit companies and out of state corporations control over our children's future," said Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Scott Arceneaux. "Scott's scheme to drain millions of our tax dollars from our local public schools not only hurts our students and the long term economic growth of our state, but it also shows just how reckless and wasteful Scott has been in managing in our state's finances. When Republicans like Rick Scott say they would make education priority — but refuse to support our local public schools — it's hard to trust them with Florida's future." 

5 Questions Rick Scott Should Answer

  1. Why does Scott support a school voucher scheme that would end local control of our public schools and give out of state corporations and for profit companies control of our children's education? 
  2. Why did Rick Scott's budget include zero dollars for public school construction or repair while awarding $55 million for charter school construction?
  3. Why did Rick Scott fail to restore funding for public schools following the GOP's historic cuts, but found money for millions of dollars for tax breaks for mega corporations? 
  4. Has Rick Scott heard about the K12 scandal, in which "for-profit virtual schools" operating in Florida falsified records and used uncertified teachers? 
  5. When Rick Scott says he'll make education a priority, but cut $300 million from higher education causing tuition to rise, why should Floridians trust the GOP with our state's future?  

BACKGROUND:

Charters get $55 million for upkeep, other schools get zero "School district officials across Florida are bemoaning the Legislature's decision to cut traditional public schools out of PECO — the Public Education Capital Outlay program. The state's 350 charter schools will share $55 million, while the approximately 3,000 traditional schools will go without." [Orlando Sentinel, 7/25/11]

K12, which operates "for-profit virtual schools" allegedly falsified records and used uncertified teachers. "Florida’s Department of Education has launched an investigation of K12, the nation’s largest online educator, over allegations the company uses uncertified teachers and asked employees to help cover up the practice. K12 officials told certified teachers to sign class rosters that included students they hadn’t taught, according to documents that are part of the investigation…In recent years, K12 has increased profits while student performance has suffered, raising questions about whether the for-profit virtual schools provider is making money at the expense of academics." [FCIR/StateImpact, 9/11/12]

Republicans cut funding for public education for five consecutive years, including cutting $1.3 billion in 2011 alone. “The budget does not make up for five consecutive years of cuts to K-12 spending, including $1.3 billion in cuts Scott approved last year.” [Times Herald, 4/18/12]  

In 2012, Republicans failed to restore education funding to the same level following their historic cuts. “The boost from last year does not overcome past budget cuts — $1.3 billion statewide last year alone;” "Scott also brags in the ad that the state put $1 billion more into school funding this year, wholly ignoring the $1.3 billion in cuts to K-12 funding Scott approved the previous year." [Florida Times Union, 2/28/12; Tampa Bay Times,9/12/12

Republicans included 0 dollars for public school construction or repair. "Florida's schools, community colleges and state universities, which anticipate zero construction dollars, will be forced to stop or put off for years many dozens of new projects, including repairs to roofs and air-conditioners” [Sunshine State News, 3/3/2012]

Republican budget cuts are forcing schools to layoff teachers and cut programs like arts and athletics. "Critics said it doesn't cover the $1.3 billion cut they got last year…That has school officials contemplating layoffs and the elimination of such programs as arts and athletics" [AP, 4/17/12. See also: WSVN, 4/27/10; The Ledger, 2/20/11; Ocala Star Banner, 9/19/11; Orlando Sentinel, 5/17/11

Republicans cut the “Bright Futures” Scholarship program. “Another measure would cut thousands of students from the Bright Futures scholarships.” [Miami Herald, 2/29/12

In 2012, Republicans cut $300 million for higher education and universities. “The House and Senate have agreed to cut universities by $300 million” [Palm Beach Post,3/1/2012

Republicans forced students to face tuition increases. “Students still could face double-digit tuition increases while schools will spend less to educate them” [Tampa Bay Times, 3/7/2012]; “’We are being put in a position of having no choice but to raise tuition,’ Ramil said” [WUSF, 3/1/2012

In 2012, Republican's budget raised tuition on college students by 5-percent. “It includes a 5 percent tuition increase for Florida college students” [Gainesville Sun, 3/5/12

Republicans like Rick Scott said education would be a priority. “I’d like to focus on what I believe are the three most important jobs I have… two, securing the right of every Floridian to a quality education” [Gov. Scott’s “State of the State,” 1/9/2012

But Republicans puts corporate special interests over middle class families. “The proposed 2012-13 budget…is a study in pork-barrel spending, reckless policy and a shortchanged future.” [Tampa Bay Times, 3/7/2012]

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