Criticism ramps up over controversial state education bill

Bill gives more money to charter schools
Posted at 8:48 PM, May 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-17 09:59:23-04

The Florida House is on the defensive and launching a cartoon ad defending their education bill.

"It continues to divert our tax dollars from our public schools," says US Representative Kathy Castor who called a news conference on Tuesday, parading a calvary of critics  in front of news cameras, who blasted the bill, claiming it steals funding from public schools.

"This was a 290 page bill and it was chalked full of policies that were not fully vetted by both chambers," says Democratic State Rep. Sean Shaw.

The Florida School Boards Association sent an urgent letter to Governor Scott, urging him to veto the bill, saying there was "no realistic opportunity for members of the public and some members of the legislature to even read the bill. Let alone evaluate its repercussions."

At the heart of their objection is the bill's funding for more charter schools, which could take years to build.

Hillsborough County superintendent Jeff Eakins said, "those are basically dollars being held hostage right now that could be impacting our schools next year and they will not be."

The critics are saying it takes money away for public schools but State senator Jeff Brandes voted for the bill. He says it gives parents more choice.

"I think it accomplishes one main goal, obviously we've seen the failure factory story this is saying we are not standing up for stays quo, we want different we want better for our students," he says.

The 279 page and $400 million education bill is not a law yet. Governor Rick Scott still has to sign it.

At the time this report was produced, the governor's office said they are  "reviewing it."