Democratic state Sen. Linda Stewart is urging Gov. Rick Scott to veto the late-passed education bill, charging its new funding formula would cut public school budgets in a non-recession year for the first time in memory.
“This bill has a consequential, negative impact to our state’s school system, and not only hurt our state’s children, but would, for the first time in memory of our state’s professional educators, actually cut budgets in a non-recessionary year for public school districts,” Stewart argued in a letter she sent to Scott.
The Florida Legislature conference committee substitute for House Bill 7069 was unveiled to and then approved by the Florida House and Florida Senate on May 8, the extra day of the session. It passed the Senate 20-18.
Stewart, who, like all Democratic senators, voted against the bill, argued that it bypasses the state’s principal funding formula for public education to deny teachers permanent eases “they so richly deserve in favor of a yearly ‘bonus’ that may or may not be funded.” She said no fewer than 18 counties would receive fewer funding formula dollars, and local tax dollars the districts raise would have to be shared with for-profit, out-of-state charter school companies.
“Negotiating the final, 274-page amendment on the final day of session was inconsistent with the pledges of transparency and openness our state’s constitute,” its laws, and its long tradition requiring scrutiny of the budget,” Stewart wrote.
She urged Scott to “heed the calls of our state’s teachers, superintendents, parents, and exercise the prerogative of your office by vetoing this bad bill.”