SB 886: War on school board authority continues with the unfair tax burden of “open enrollment”

LIZBETH BENACQUISTO 2

SB 886 by Sen. Benacquisto, which will be heard in Senate Appropriations this week, imposes an unfair tax burden on districts by allowing  students to “open enroll” in any school across the state.  It should be noted that SB 886 proponents from the charter and “school choice” lobby gave at least $182,500 to legislators and their PACS prior to the 2016 session.

Take action now. SB 886 hurts voters, taxpayers and students

“Open enrollment” is the most dangerous public education bill of the 2016 session because it seriously erodes the constitutional authority of elected school boards over the state’s 67 contiguous school districts.  It means that zoned students whose parents pay taxes in the district can be displaced by transfer students and their siblings who are allowed to stay indefinitely.

The Florida legislature has passed 60% of the cost of public education onto school districts whose residents repeatedly vote to tax themselves to make up the difference. SB 886 in essence takes that money and gives it to people who live in another county.

It’s grossly unfair for transfer students and their parents to benefit from locally raised tax dollars meant to benefit district schools.  Legislators take zero responsibility for putting districts and taxpayers on the hook for a billion dollar funding gap.

For all the “reform” talk about kids being “stuck” in schools, SB 886 makes no fiscal provision for transportation.  So SB 886 bestows “choice” to a certain sector of students with the financial means to afford the hidden cost of open enrollment.

SB 886 is bad public policy. It’s true purpose is to set the stage for the demise of districts and elected school boards, which harms voters, taxpayers and worst of all, students.

Use your voice and tell senators to vote no on SB 886.

 

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