Congratulations. You live in Florida.
Florida's elected Tallahassee-dwellers have pretty much dropped all pretense; under Governor Desantis, the goal is to completely demolish public education, with no more cover story than to insist that the resulting privatized system is still a "public school system." I have seen better gaslighting from a fourteen year old saying, "I did not throw that pencil at Chris" even though he watched me watch him do it.
The Tampa Bay Times offers some background:
Let’s check the record. For years, Republicans who control the Legislature have attacked teacher unions as the enemy and complained about under-performing public schools while starving them of financial resources. They would not let local school districts keep additional tax revenue created by rising property values. They gave them little or no money for construction and renovation. And last year, they increased base spending per student by a grand total of 47 cents.
|We'll put Swampland Charter right here.|
Last week, Florida GOP legislators pooped out a proposal to stop all this locally controlled self-reliant bootstrapping (because, you know, conservatives hate local control, self-reliance, and bootstraps, apparently, now). The bill, proposed by the House Ways and Means Committee led by Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Miami Springs, says those local districts must hand over some of those tax dollars to charter schools or the state will just cut their state funding even more.
This is just nuts on so many levels. In addition to pissing on the conservative values of local control and self-reliance, this also thumbs its nose at one of the traditional arguments for charter schools-- that competition will make public schools up their games. I'd call bullshit on that point, except that's exactly what happened here-- with their ability to compete hamstrung by Tallahassee tightwads, these local districts found a way to be competitive, including competing for teachers in the midst of Florida's well-deserved and completely predictable teacher shortage.
This is legislative thievery. This is as if lawmakers bought their own restaurant and then imposed a tax on all other restaurants so that no matter where you eat out, the legislators' restaurant gets paid.
Tallahassee isn't even trying to be sneaky. The message is clear; they want charter schools to get the money, and public schools to get the shaft.
Meanwhile, the tax increases were passed for very specific amounts earmarked for very specific purposes, and if charters get to take a cut, the full amount of money won't be there, leaving local authorities to figure out, once again, how to overcome the state's inflicted financial challenges. And don't get any smart ideas about other taxation avenues; the state wants local sales taxes to now be approved by a two-thirds vote rather than simple majority.
It's thievery, and it's one more step toward the goal of turning Florida into a state with no public education system, but plenty of education-flavored opportunities to make a private fortune out of public dollars. And it would just be a mark of shame for the state alone, were Florida not Betsy DeVos's idea of how a privatized, voucherized is supposed to be set up.