ICYMI: Parents, Teachers, Superintendents and Grassroots Organizations Resist HB 7069, Demand a Veto
Across the state, concerned community members are calling on Rick Scott to veto HB 7069. The Republican sponsored legislation is a massive, 278 page bill written in secret that siphons taxpayer money away from public schools and hands it to privately managed charter schools.
“All children deserve a quality education, no matter where they live. HB 7069 removes local agency, transparency and accountability in our public school system. Our kids deserve better,” said FDP spokesperson Johanna Cervone.
Below is extensive coverage of the movement against HB 7069:
“The Florida PTA joined in today, asking Scott to veto the massive, multi-pronged education bill the Legislature passed late Monday…
The Orlando-based group Fund Education Now also called for a veto, calling the legislation (HB 7069) the ‘worst package of public education policies in Florida history.’…
The League of Women Voters on Tuesday asked for a veto to the budget, saying it offers the smallest public-school funding increase in six years and leaves Florida paying less per student than it did a decade ago…
The Florida Education Association, the statewide teachers union, urged a veto, of both the budget and the bill, just hours after they passed Monday.”
“The bill is a fraud upon the state. Scott should veto the bill and focus on getting education right.”
“It is rare that the Board or School District use our public platforms to advocate on an issue; however, vetoing the budget and sending legislators back to Tallahassee is critically important to our school district, our employees and most importantly our students…. Legislators need to start over, and not make substantial education policy without input from educators.”
“Where’s the government transparency that the leadership promised this session?” Florida Education Association President Joanne McCall asked in a statement issued by the union demanding a veto. “Floridians expect a fair process, not backroom deal-making.”
“Public education advocates, like the Florida PTA and other groups, and superintendents — including Miami-Dade County Public Schools chief Alberto Carvalho — aim to convince their elected representatives to vote “no.”
“We’re being asked to basically accept an ounce of honey in exchange for a gallon of vinegar,’ Carvalho told the Herald”
“The Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, remains opposed to the “Best & Brightest” program even under HB 7069 — favoring actual pay increases for teachers, not bonuses that aren’t assured year after year.”
“Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, along with several School Board members and Duval Teachers United President Terrie Brady, called the series of last-minute additions made to an education “train” bill late last Friday night a sign of corruption in Tallahassee. The measures, they said, will largely benefit charter schools while harming many poor students and the public schools which serve them.
“This bill is about power and corruption,” Vitti said. “It’s about anti-public accountability and anti-public schools. It will radically and negatively transform funding streams, infrastructure and systems of support for public schools.”
“St. Johns County School District Superintendent Tim Forson expressed his disappointment that local politicians had not acted to reject the education bill, or make changes to it, ahead of Monday’s vote.
“We have always done all we can and will continue to do make every effort to shield children and programs from feeling the pain of the cuts we will now be forced to make,” Forson said in the statement. “We currently have one of the smallest percentages in the state of Florida being spent at our district office. In fact, nearly 97 cents of every dollar is spent on programs and instruction for our children. This will make it more and more difficult to make cuts that will not directly impact students.”
“Opposing several measures in the education budget, the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce also issued a statement Monday before the vote, rallying local stakeholders to put pressure on their elected officials to reject it, saying the plan “endangers our childrens’ education and our County’s No. 1 ranking.”
“But the “pay-for-performance” incentive has been criticized by some education leaders, including Michelle Dillon, president of the St. Johns Education Association.
“I think the Best and Brighest is misplaced funding, to say it kindly,” Dillon said. “These are bonuses — they do not contribute toward a teacher’s retirement and are reduced based on the number of teachers who receive Best and Brightest.”