Urgent help needed today.
Rep. Fresen has turned HB 7029 into a 170 page monster train chock full of charter school perks. The bill arrived in the House containing some rare charter school accountability measures such as preventing operators from profiting off of third party real estate schemes. That’s gone.
Take action now. Tell the Senate to walk away from HB 7029 today.
Based on questions from the floor, it was clear that House members had no idea what had been added to this bill. They passed it anyway. Now HB 7029 is back in the Senate today, the last day of the 2016 legislature.
Fresen’s family ties to Academica, Florida’s largest for-profit charter developer and his job at Civica, which designs charter schools, are hard to ignore. Fresen’s amended HB 7029 includes:
- Allowing charter school developers to sandbag new charter schools by granting a two-year delay on opening approved applications. Ignores changing community needs, encouraging growth for growth’s sake.
- Capping dollars districts are allowed to spend per “student station” on capital projects. Prevents districts from using community raised funds to exceed the rigid per-student station figure to build high-tech STEM schools, marine biology magnets or other top of the line facilities. Districts who exceed the per student station cap will lose all PECO capital outlay funding for three years. Since charters enjoy lucrative third party leases, they will never have this problem and never be denied PECO funds.
- Steering state funding away from the Florida School Boards Association (whose members approve/deny charter applications) by allowing school board members send their dues to a new six-member Koch Bros. favorite, the Florida Coalition of School Board Members which was created last year as retribution to the FSBA for joining others to sue the state over the legality of using diverted public funds to pay for private school vouchers.
Senate president Andy Gardiner had this to say on Thursday about HB 7029, “We don’t want to see 150 page amendments no one’s seen. We’ll just walk away.”
Let’s hope they do.
Please help us continue to fund this quick way to speak up and take action