Rick Scott and Richard Corcoran in town for "victory tour"

Olive Rios
June 27, 2017

And there will be $30 million extra for services to disabled children. "This is great news for families -- Hispanics and others -- seeking better educational opportunities for their kids", said Cesar Grajales, Florida coalitions director for The LIBRE Initiative, a conservative Hispanic group with ties to the Koch brothers.

"You have the "Schools of Hope" is what it is called under that bill, that allows charter schools to come to where a school has been performing poorly and they get additional dollars in order to open up and run that school, dollars that weren't necessarily available to the school district in order to provide services", Forson says. Though it increases teacher bonuses, it would give schools less time to improve before they're closed down and possibly turned into charters, which is one of the Duval County school board's five main concerns with the bill. "Not only do students with severe disabilities gain a chance at the education to which they are entitled, so do economically disadvantaged charter school students who now will receive the benefits of funding more equitably".

Pushed into the bill were a variety of proposals from many different education bills. Charter-friendly provisions are scattered throughout the bill, such as one that requires traditional public elementary schools to provide recess to students (without resources to expand the school day) but exempts charters from the same mandate.

Bowing to criticism about Florida's testing regimen, the measure also eliminates the Algebra 2 end-of-course exam and shifts the dates for the state's main standardized test closer to the end of the school year. Gary Farmer, D-Fort Lauderdale.

The governor insisted, "choice" does not mean public schools are being short changed.

Not all public school officials opposed the bill, however.

"Our children deserve the highest qualified teachers to prepare them for the complex and rapidly changing world of the 21st century", said FEA president Joanne McCall. "We want to make certain we retain this talent in state government and this critical legislation is a step in the right direction". But after House Speaker Richard Corcoran agreed during a special session last week to fund Scott's top priorities, the governor turned around and signed Corcoran's priority bill six days later. After being unyielding in his push for the legislation during the session, Corcoran told reporters in Orlando on Thursday that he would be willing to listen to the concerns of opponents. The governor's daily schedule listed the event as "HB 7069 Signing and Budget Highlight Event".

The bill also includes $183 million for pay increases for judges, elected state attorneys and public defenders. "This awful piece of legislation. would dramatically reduce the ability of school districts across the state to devote resources towards improving our public education. his bill is a textbook example of a failure in government transparency".

School districts are required to implement HB 7069 in their districts by July 1. Check back for updates.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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