Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rick Scott, GOP Give Cash To Charters While Ignoring Public Schools

I found this particular story to be interesting - Florida Republicans have decided to cut approximately 3,000 public schools out of the Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) program instead giving those funds to 350 charter schools. The program is derived from the tax collected on the gross receipts from the sale of utility services.

Dave Weber wrote the following for The Orlando Sentinel:
Traditional public schools in Florida will get no money from the state this year for additions or needed repairs to thousands of aging buildings, but charter schools will score big.

All of the state cash budgeted for school construction and maintenance is going to the independent, tax-financed charters favored by the Republican-dominated Legislature and Gov.Rick Scott.

The charter school operated for children of employees of The Villages, the Republican stronghold in north Lake County frequented by Scott and former President George W. Bush, is expected to receive about $1 million.

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.

"Every cent allocated for school construction went to charter schools," complained Lee Swift, a Charlotte County school board member who heads the Florida School Boards Association.
It is no secret that Republicans hate public education - they have spent the past couple years villainizing public educators and trying to defund public schools.  This latest issue is just their newest assault.  They are pushing traditional schools into obsolescence, and they are doing so to reward political allies.  Why do you think Republican haven, The Villages, received $1 million dollars for their charter school - that is one school receiving one million dollars.  To put that into perspective, Orange County, which has 200 schools, received only $6.7 million in the past year.

If that isn't proof that these fund being steered to charters isn't politically motivated, how about this: Sen. David Simmons, a Maitland Republican who chairs the Senate's subcommittee on school appropriations, stated that public schools don't need the funds because they over-extended and  had gone through a heavy construction phase.

"We did a whole lot of building a few years ago," Simmons said. "Growth has stagnated, and there has been some overbuilding of schools in some areas."

If that is the case, then how does Simmons explain giving  money to the Choices in Learning charter school in Seminole County, which plans to use the funds to repay construction bonds for their new $10 million dollar facility?

I thought public schools don't deserve the money because they over-built?

Also, let's not to mention that this school is an "A" school currently located in a Baptist Church. Wouldn't it make more sense to give that money to schools that actually need the funds? Why would this school build a $10 million dollar facility when they don't have the funds, unless they were promised these funds from political supporters?

It appears to me Republicans are trying to make public schools inferior by defunding them while awarding those dollars to their charter school friends.

It also sounds as if Republicans are ignoring the Florida Constitution.

Article IX, Section 1 reads as follows:
The education of children is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida. It is, therefore, a paramount duty of the state to make adequate provision for the education of all children residing within its borders. Adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education and for the establishment, maintenance, and operation of institutions of higher learning and other public education programs that the needs of the people may require.
Doesn't really sound like the GOP are making adequate provisions for the maintenance  for education institutions...

1 comment:

  1. The Orlando Sentinel article also points out that Republicans favor the charter schools because they build their facilities to less restrictive codes than public schools.

    If charter schools are the way to go, why not change public school regulation to emulate these schools? The answer is because they want public schools to fail so they can later chip away and teachers' unions and the DOE...


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