The Flagler County School Board voted 4-0 Tuesday to send the following letter to Gov. Rick Scott. The letter was a collaborative effort by Superintendent Jacob Oliva and senior staffers Diane Dyer and Tom Tant, among others, and joins a growing chorus of school districts and others opposed to the measure, which passed the Legislature in the final hours of the session even though many of its provisions had died in committee. The chairman of the school board sent his own letter this week as well.
Dear Governor Scott,
On behalf of the citizens of Flagler County, we respectfully implore you to veto House Bill 7069. While there are several provisions in the bill that we support, the ramifications as a whole would be detrimental to Flagler Schools.
Flagler is disappointed in the process that resulted in HB 7069. Such changes in public education policy call for open dialogue. The architects of HB 7069 added bills to this so-called “train” that had been discounted by sub-committees due to lack of support. Legislators also added other bills that have nothing to do with budget and do not belong in a budget conforming bill, which is what HB 7069 purports to be. Through the process they took in crafting and passing HB 7069, our legislators did not follow the basic tenets we teach our students in 7th grade Civics. We believe legislators are setting a dangerous precedent that will haunt Florida’s public schools for years.
The provisions of biggest concern to Flagler Schools are as follows:
• Although we only have two charter schools in Flagler County, sharing our Capital Outlay funding with them would adversely affect us. With HB 7069, charter schools will not have to demonstrate the need for this funding, as does the district through the FISH (Florida Inventory of School Houses) report. They will receive funds based solely on their student enrollment and will be able to spend these dollars on digital instruction software and operating systems, license fees, and even personnel annual leave payouts. Capital dollars should be used to build and renovate taxpayer-owned buildings. Supporting charter schools’ capital needs should not come at the expense of traditional public schools.
• We squeeze every cent out of Title I to support students. That support is coordinated at the district level to supply personnel who work across multiple schools to provide training and support to teachers and students. HB 7069 redirects Title I funding to schools that in essence would be acting as individual Local Education Agencies. By eliminating district-wide strategic coordination over federal Title I funding, Flagler students will be short-changed.
• On the surface, two provisions of HB 7069 sound commendable, the Best and Brightest Scholarship Program and Schools of Hope. We applaud the effort to reward high performing teachers and principals, but the $375 million dollars allocated to support these initiatives should be redirected to restore the reduction to the base student allocation.
The School Board of Flagler County supports your veto of House Bill 7069.
Merrill Shapiro says
It’s hard to imagine what we did to get legislators like we have in Tallahassee! Balancing the state legislative disaster, thank goodness we have School Board members who are ready to speak up for what is right!
USA Lover says
We need more Charter Schools. The Flagler County school system is PATHETIC.