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Schools of Hope

David Simmons: We’re not done yet with HB 7069

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Interparty, cross-house fighting over the controversial education omnibus bill House Bill 7069 is not yet over, nor are efforts to stop provisions that could spell death sentences to underperforming public schools, Republican state Sen. Dave Simmons vowed Wednesday. And the bill might face a legal challenge led by state Sen. Gary Farmer, a Parkland Republican who has become the bill’s most outspoken critic. At a panel discussion, with three Republican state representatives, held by the Seminole County Chamber of Commerce…

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Rick Scott to sign controversial education policy bill

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Gov. Rick Scott will sign a contentious education policy bill that critics fear will hurt traditional public schools in favor of privately-managed charter schools. The Governor’s Office on Thursday morning announced he will approve “a major education bill” at Morning Star Catholic School in Orlando, “which serves many children who receive the Gardiner Scholarship,” one of the programs affected by the legislation. The bill signing is slated for 3:45 p.m., a press release said. It did not mention the bill by name or…

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First Amendment Foundation calls on Rick Scott to veto education bill

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The First Amendment Foundation is weighing in on a wide-sweeping education bill, asking Gov. Rick Scott to veto the measure when it gets to his desk. In a letter to Scott on Tuesday, Barbara Petersen, the president of the First Amendment Foundation, said the organization’s concerns “relate only to the lack of transparency in the process by which major policy decisions regarding Florida’s education system were decided.” Lawmakers narrowly approved the bill (HB 7069) on the final day of the…

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Education bill, key to budget deal, clears the Senate by two votes

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Only one of the budget conforming bills debated in the Senate Monday drew a point of order — SB 7069, to implement the House’s ideas about charter schools and teacher bonuses. It didn’t stop the bill from passing, on a vote of 20-18. House and Senate negotiators have paired the bill with separate legislation carrying the Senate’s higher education agenda. Sen. Gary Farmer raised the point of order, arguing that the education compromise violated multiple Senate rules. For example, he…

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Florida legislators agree to small boost for schools

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Florida’s public schools will get only a small increase in money for day-to-day operations under an agreement worked out by state legislators. House and Senate budget negotiators on Friday agreed to increase regular public school spending by $241 million. That amounts to about a 1.2 percent increase in money for each student. Republicans have defended the small increase by pointing out that they are setting aside money in other education programs, such as one aimed at helping students in failing…

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House passes ‘Schools of Hope’ charter school plan

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Despite bitter opposition from Democrats, the Republican-controlled House Thursday passed its proposal to create privately-run “Schools of Hope” to combat failing public schools in the state.  The measure (HB 5105) was approved by a vote of 77-40 after more than three hours of debate. It now heads to the Senate, where leaders have said they’re open to any idea that seeks to help students at low-performing schools. By mid-afternoon, House members had yet to debate the 2017-18 budget, the one measure they…

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Andrew Gillum, Shevrin Jones lambaste charter school funding plan

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Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum on Wednesday called proposed House funding for charter schools “a giveaway to (House Republicans’) friends and family.” But Gillum at first wouldn’t answer whether he would veto such funding if he were governor, saying instead he would put a “premium” on fully funding the state’s public school system. A spokesman later said he would veto that kind of funding if elected, explaining Gillum “fundamentally believes the bill’s approach is wrong.” The mayor appeared with Democratic state…

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