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Another $215 million for schools doesn’t go far enough, FEA complains

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The Florida Education Association isn’t satisfied with Gov. Rick Scott’s and legislative leaders’ plan to pump another $100 per pupil into public education. The union also wants Scott to veto HB 7069, the Legislature’s big education package.

“The gaping flaws in HB 7069 haven’t changed with this suggested increase in funding,” FEA President Joanne McCall said in a written statement.

“It doesn’t even pay for the massive giveaway to charter schools included in the bill. The governor and the legislative leaders who cooked up these changes and called for a special session are not addressing the needs of the parents and students in this state,” she said.

Scott announced with House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron Friday that the Legislature would convene in special session between June 7 and June 9 to add $215 million in K-12 spending; establish an $85 million Florida Job Growth Fund to promote public infrastructure and individual job training; and boost Visit Florida spending to $76 million.

HB 7069 provides for $419 million in schools spending, including the House’s “Schools of Hope” initiative, steering money to charter schools that take pupils from consistently failing public schools.

“Unless the governor vetoes HB 7069, there isn’t enough money to offset the incredible damage that will hit our public schools,” McCall said.

“The 2.7 million students in our traditional public schools will pay the price so that operators of for-profit charters, that serve a small fraction of that number of students, can get a financial benefit.”

She called the bill a “sneaky” attempt at privatization.

“Parents and taxpayers want stronger traditional public schools, not a parallel school system that divvies up scarce tax dollars,” McCall said.

“This bill will not help our students, our teachers, our school employees or our public schools. It is a wrecking ball aimed directly at our traditional public schools. It is not what Floridians want for their children and their schools.”

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