Please write your state representative!
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Please propose these bills which are about transparency and accountability for the publicly funded K-12 schools. There are three parts.
Please propose a bill that will do the following in order to protect the revenue generated from voter approved local sales surtax and increased property taxes for capital outlay funds since legislators forced the school districts to give part of the revenue on a per student rather than a needs basis to charter schools.
1. Change the rules for capital outlay funding going to charter schools in order to keep assets purchased with tax dollars within the public school system.
· Change f.s. 1013.62 (4) so that Capital Outlay Funding must only go to schools housed in buildings where the profits will go to the school district if the building is sold.
· Change f.s. 1013.62 (5) to make it clear that no distribution of capital outlay funding can be distributed to a charter school until the charter contract lays out in clear language how the assets will revert to the school district if the charter school should close or the building is sold.
2. Change the rules so that charter schools that get a D or F two years in a row must close or turn over to another charter school or pay an outside vendor just like the district –run schools are required to do in order to bring the grade up to a C.
3. Change the rules so that new charter school buildings MUST always get a zoning change so the neighborhood will be notified in case traffic will be an issue.
Please propose a bill that will safeguard the taxpayer dollars going to voucher funded private schools:
Change the rules so that vouchers can only be distributed to private schools that meet the following criteria:
1. Have a large endowment or tuition paying students so the vouchers are less than 50% of the school's revenue
2. Participate in the same grading system as the other publicly funded schools. Only the ones that get a C or better grade should be eligible for vouchers.
The reason is explained by Billy Townsend in his article titled "Cough Up The Voucher Data Florida": Some of the private schools that the vouchers fund are bad, corrupt, and without oversight of basic quality and they duck standardized testing imposed on the other publicly funded schools while an adult or two collects a state or corporate tax-sheltered revenue stream.
Please propose a bill that explains in clear language that all publicly funded schools must follow health, safety, non-discrimination, and welfare laws. Florida statutes 1002.33 and 1002.421 must be strengthened.
F.S. 1002.33 reads in part:
16) (a) A charter school ... shall be in compliance with the following statutes:
*Those statutes pertaining to the student assessment program and school grading system.[but voucher funded private schools don’t--why not?]
*Those statutes pertaining to the provision of services to students with disabilities.
*Those statutes pertaining to civil rights, including s. 1000.05, relating to discrimination.
*Those statutes pertaining to student health, safety, and welfare.
F.S. 1002.421 reads in part:
A private school participating in an educational scholarship program established pursuant to this chapter must
(a) Comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of 42 U.S.C. s. 2000d. [it doesn’t say f.s. 1000.05--why not?]
(g) Meet applicable state and local health, safety, and welfare laws, codes, and rules …
Please always consider why a legislator is creating a rule for only the district-run schools; why is it not being applied to the other publicly funded schools if it is a good rule? I offer as an example the prohibition on mask mandates. Why was the prohibition on mask mandates only applicable to the district run schools? It's our tax money. I was in favor of the mask mandate to protect our community from the spread of covid-19 early in the pandemic when people were rapidly dying from the virus. I was perplexed by the legislators prohibiting local school boards from making the best decision for their communities.