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Get the Facts on Charters, Vouchers and Virtual Schools

Rick Scott and the GOP Are Draining Millions Of Our Tax Dollars from Our Public Schools so Out of State Corporations Can Profit Off Our Children’s Education

TALLAHASSEE, FL — “Welcome to the darker side” of Florida’s vouchers and charters: Republicans like Rick Scott are draining millions of our tax dollars from our local public schools so that out of state corporations can profit off our children’s education. Instead of focusing on education, these corporations are focused on on making money for themselves: one for-profit school had 275 students for every one teacher, and in Broward three charter schools recently closed a month into the school year, sending parents “scrambling.”  

“Republicans have drained millions of tax dollars from our public schools and given these dollars to out of state corporations and for-profit companies who are trying to make money off our children’s education,” said Scott Arceneaux, Florida Democratic Party Executive Director. “If Rick Scott had really been listening, he’d know that strong public schools are the pathway to growing our economy and helping middle class families succeed. But instead, our children’s education will suffer because Scott and the Republicans took local control over our schools away from our parents and shipped our tax dollars to out of state companies. That’s a bad plan for Florida’s middle class families, a bad plan for our schools, and a reckless and fiscally irresponsible way to waste our tax dollars.” 


Florida Republicans gave $55 million to for-profit Charter schools, while public schools got zero dollars. “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

In 2012, 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] 

For years, Republicans drained tax dollars from public school and gave it to for-profit charters. “For the last three years, the state has given no money for construction, and maintenance money has fallen off… At the same time, separate PECO funding for charter schools has grown;” “At issue: a provision in the budget that allocates $55 million in Public Education Capital Outlay dollars to charter schools. Traditional public schools, which once relied upon PECO dollars for construction and maintenance projects, wouldn’t receive any.” [Orlando Sentinel, 7/25/11; Tampa Bay Times, 2/8/12]  

Unlike public schools which are focused on teaching, out of state corporations are focused on profiting off our children’s education.  “K12 is an $864 million publicly traded company whose stock price has more than doubled in the last year. 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. A July 2012 study by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado found that students at K12 schools fell further behind in reading and math scores than pupils in traditional schools. [FCIR, 9/11/12

In one instance, a for-profit virtual school “used uncertified teachers,” attempted to falsify records and had 275 students per 1 teacher. “The Florida Department of Education has launched an investigation of K12, the nation’s largest online educator, over allegations the company uses uncertified teachers and has asked employees to help cover up the practice. K12 officials asked state-certified teachers to sign class rosters that included students they hadn’t taught, according to documents that are part of the investigation…The documents suggest K12 may be using uncertified teachers in violation of state law;” “A high school teacher working for K12 may have as many as 275 students…” [FCIR, 9/11/12; FCIR, 9/16/12

In another instance, three charter schools abruptly closed, leaving students and parents “scrambling” a month into the school year. “Three Broward charter schools closed their doors to students Friday, a day after the school board was notified of the closures…’It’s crazy because they could at least keep school until the end of the school term. Now we’ve got to be running up and down and trying to put kids in the school,’ said Tamar Singh, a mother;” “Last week, three central Broward charter schools abruptly shut their doors, leaving 414 students and their parents scrambling for alternatives a month into the new school year.  [NBC6 Miami, 9/14/12; Orlando Sentinel, 9/19/12

“Welcome to the darker side of Florida’s world of charter and virtual schools.” “Welcome to the darker side of Florida’s world of charter and virtual schools. In recent years, state legislators who espouse the virtues of school choice – and private companies who’ve profited from picking off traditional public school students – have reshaped the educational landscape to an unsettling degree.” [Orlando Sentinel, 9/19/12]  



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