Florida Gov. says controversial education bill crafted in 'secret'

Florida Gov. says controversial education bill crafted in 'secret'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Superintendents across Florida call House Bill 7069 a "disaster". The controversial education bill is said to have been crafted "behind closed doors".

The bill passed the house 73-36 and then narrowly passed in the Senate 20-18 in the final hours of session.

Florida Governor Rick Scott did not seem impressed when asked about the bill, claiming it was just one of many measures passed in "secret" this session.

“Well as you know this session was fascinating to me, so much was done in secret," said Scott. "We find out about these bills in the last couple of days, we find out about our budget right before we had to vote on it.”

The governor has about 15 days to decide whether to veto the bill after it lands on his desk. If he does sign it into law it would require public schools that score lower than a C for three consecutive years to be closed and open charter schools in their place.

The governor would not give First Coast News a direct answer when asked if he planned on vetoing the bill.

“I’m going to review it," said Scott.

The bill he has yet to review is nearly 300 pages.

One of the 18 senators to vehemently disagree with this bill is Florida Senator Audrey Gibson.

“I voted no and if I could have pushed my button and harder I would have.”

Gibson calls the bill “Armageddon”.

“We should not turn over our state tax dollars to businesses to run schools, that’s just not what we do," said Gibson.

The bill could strip Title One funding and close three schools in her district: Ribault, Matthew Gilbert, and Northwestern Middle Schools.

“It's closing down community schools, rather than giving them the resources they need to stay open,” said Gibson.

Florida Senator Aaron Bean took a different stance, voting 'YES' on the bill.

“You know what, it’s a tremendous opportunity for kids, there’s a tremendous opportunity for kids to better themselves rather than being stuck in a failing school," said Bean. "We haven’t got the word out, the word out on all the good that’s in there.”

Bean says the bill allows for more options.

“It’s going to bring in national role model charter schools," said Bean, "and eliminate the hurdles as to why they are not in Florida when they’re in other states."

In response to the outcry against the bill the Florida House of Representatives posted a video to their YouTube page dispelling what they call "rumors and gossip".

Superintendents on the First Coast are asking for the public to oppose this bill. Duval County School District Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti sent a letter to legislators asking for them to oppose the bill.

Reject HB5105 by First Coast News on Scribd

St. Johns County Superintendent Tim Forson posted this letter for families to read online.

A letter from Superintendent Addison Davis in Clay County addresses his concerns.

The School District of Palm Beach County posted their concerns on their school blog.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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