Scott Makes It Official, Sells Out Florida’s Public Schools
In response to Rick Scott signing the legislature’s disaster of an education bill, HB7069, Florida Democratic Party Communications Director Johanna Cervone issued the following statement:
“There are no words. By signing HB7069, Rick Scott and Tallahassee Republicans have declared war on our public schools. This bill is a national disgrace and was universally regarded by school boards and superintendents to be a death knell for public education. Scott and Corcoran are caricatures of themselves–crooked Tallahassee politicians cutting backroom deals and pilfering dollars from our children to ensure their corporate benefactors get funded. Scott got his slush fund, and Corcoran got millions of dollars for for-profit charter schools, but Florida’s families are left with next to nothing. Voters will remember who was responsible for this legislation–including those who were complicit in its signing, like noteworthy political coward, Adam Putnam, who tiptoes around every issue.”
Here’s what Floridians are reading as Scott signs this disastrous bill:
Sun-Sentinel: Editorial: Florida’s broken state Legislature.
· “Florida citizens reasonably could wonder why they pay to keep 160 legislators in Tallahassee every year for 60 days — or longer — when the final decisions seem to be decreed by just three people. Perhaps lawmakers should simply give their proxies to the House Speaker and Senate President, then let them work out new laws with the governor.”
· “The secret budget negotiations between Speaker Richard Corcoran and President Joe Negron that brought the regular session to an uncertain end violated any pretense of transparency or inclusion. And the dark-of-night deal on the terms of a three-day special session should lead everyone to believe the fix is in.”
· “So look this week for Gov. Rick Scott to sign HB 7069, the year’s most controversial bill… In return, Corcoran agreed to give the governor an $85 million pot of money for economic development, money that comes with no strings attached, except for a prohibition on benefiting a single company. And after criticizing reckless spending at Visit Florida, he agreed to fully fund its tourist marketing program.”
Miami Herald Editorial: “State funding for public schools still lags the national average of $10,600, at just over $7,000. That’s a disgrace.”
· “Why the governor can better gauge the most valuable projects for the state, as opposed to the pros at Enterprise Florida, is a head-scratcher. How equitably Scott will disburse the funds is anyone’s guess. The Democrats have called it a “slush fund.” We agree. But it’s a great way for the governor, with his eye on higher elected office, to curry favor.”
· “State funding for public schools still lags the national average of $10,600, at just over $7,000. That’s a disgrace for the third-largest state in the nation, especially since Republican lawmakers and the governor are intent on hobbling public schools, which must take all comers, in favor of for-profit charter schools, which don’t.”
Sun Sentinel: Editorial: Florida’s secret budget deal undermines education, public trust
· “Florida…is more like a national joke. The budget deal that Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday is lousy in terms of substance and how the deal came about.”
· “The Palm Beach County [school] district expects to lose $230 million over 10 years, a figure that could rise if the giveaway draws even more charter operators. Broward County expects to lose $300 million over 10 years.”
Miami Herald: Editorial: Veto the Florida Legislature’s harmful education budget, Gov. Scott
· “The governor needs to see House Bill 7069, for the disaster that it is — and, more important, the disaster it will mean for public-school students statewide…However, it’s a cynical budget that pits public schools against charter schools — an increasingly deep-pocketed industry, one to which legislative leaders pander.”
Pensacola News Journal: Editorial: Gov. Rick Scott sold out to secrecy
· “So much for the righteous fight for transparency of Gov. Rick Scott. As the Legislature reconvenes in special session this week, they are doing so to formalize deal-making that’s already been done in secret”
· “Apparently, as soon as they promised Scott that he could have what he really wanted — more cash for Visit Florida and the Department of Economic Opportunity — he scrapped all that transparency talk and promptly shook hands. So much for principle.”
Tampa Bay Times: Editorial: Florida budget deal trades cash for bad policy
· “The governor [is] poised to allow horrendous legislation to become law that would further dismantle public education.”
· “Yet all of this additional spending is not worth the damage that would be caused by the education legislation that Corcoran covets and Scott evidently agreed to spare.”
· “Anyone who cares about the future of public education should not be so easily bought off.”
Tampa Bay Times: Romano: A ruse by any other name still stinks
· “So, how did Rick Scott rescue us from this secretly crafted budget? By negotiating a brand new, secretly crafted budget. Problem solved, apparently. This might be amusing if it wasn’t also deceitful.”
· “Day after day, week after week, Scott has been complaining about how House and Senate leaders made a mockery of the state’s Sunshine Laws…it feels as if there was a deeper level of cynicism involved in this negotiation. A complete disregard of public will.”
The Ledger: Editorial: Gov. Scott, Polk State doesn’t deserve this fate
· “On Friday, Scott slashed funding Polk State receives to operate programs at its Lake Wales campus. That includes classes and faculty at the J.D. Alexander Center as well as the programs at the Lake Wales Arts Center…”
· “Gov. Scott’s higher education vetoes affected at least nine of the state’s 12 universities and nine state colleges, including PSC. The pain was thus broad-based.”
· “The hard-heartedness this shows to 1,600 folks in Lake Wales trying to improve their lives is unfathomable.”
Gainesville Sun: Editorial: Secret deal only slight improvement
· “Scott put his priorities ahead of the demands of voters.”
Ocala Star Banner: Editorial: Don’t cut aid to state colleges
· “The budget…hacked millions from state colleges in favor of Florida’s university system.”
· “The Legislature whittled millions from programs for students clinging to the bottom rungs of the educational ladder — those who want a better life and are willing to work hard for it, but need remediation and extra help to be successful at the college level.”
Sun Sentinel: Gov. Rick Scott cuts millions from South Florida projects.
· “In return for more money for his top priorities, Scott will sign a controversial education bill that will require school districts to give some of their revenue from property taxes to charter schools
Daytona Beach News Journal: Volusia school officials: Rick Scott’s budget increase not enough to meet needs.
· “Anything at this point will help, but (the governor’s proposed increase) is not sufficient to fund education,” said Deb Muller, the school district’s chief financial officer, adding education dollars continue “to be short of what we’ve seen in pre-recession funding.”
Sun Sentinel Opinion: Gov. Rick Scott puts personal agenda ahead of Florida families.
· “So why did Scott exercise his veto pen so broadly? To advance his own agenda.”
Ocala Star Banner: Editorial: Quite the secrecy in Tallahassee.
· “The worst legislative wurst undoubtedly is House Bill 7069, a massive education package of disparate issues that was concocted in secret in the waning days of the regular session, then put out for vote before everyone knew what all was in it and with minimal floor debate. Legislators and the public were forced to consume it before it had been fully cooked.”
Palm Beach Post: Editorial: Too many decisions made in private, by just three people.
· “Some results were plain awful, like House Bill 7069, the controversial education bill chocked with giveaways to the charter school industry. Education leaders across the state, including Palm Beach County’s School Board and superintendent, urged Scott for a veto, but he is expected to sign it as early as Thursday.”