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Charter School Lobbyist: Education Bill Could End Up In Court

U.S. Department of Education Via Flikr
Credit U.S. Department of Education Via Flikr / WFSU News

There are growing demands for Governor Rick Scott to veto both the state budget, and a controversial education companion measure that critics say goes too far.  House Bill 7069 covers everything from charter schools to testing to sunscreen. The bill is now at the center of a growing fight over the future of public education. School districts are upset over language mandating they share local tax dollars with charter schools as well as other changes benefitting charters.

“I think the issues are so great that somehow, someway, we will end up in litigation over some of this language," said Chris Moya of the firm Jones Walker. He lobbies for Charter Schools USA.

Moya believes the bill is a victory for students.

After lawmakers ignored their calls to vote down a sprawling education bill, opponents of the measure are turning to Governor Rick Scott as their last hope to stop the proposal from becoming law.

“We heard over and over on the floor that it’s a terrible bill, and we’ll fix it when we come back next session," said the Florida Education Association's Luke Flynt. The FEA is the state's largest teacher's union. "It needs to be fixed now, and the way to do that is with the governor’s veto.”

The measure was pushed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who sparred with the governor throughout the session over economic-development incentives and tourism marketing. But there are also politically popular parts of the bill that could make it difficult for Scott to veto as he weighs a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2018. The bill revises standardized testing, teacher evaluations and provides for an expansion of charter schools.

It squeaked by the Senate with a 20-18 vote and passed the House just shy of the votes needed to override a veto.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas. She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. When she’s not working, Lynn spends her time watching sci-fi and action movies, writing her own books, going on long walks through the woods, traveling and exploring antique stores. Follow Lynn Hatter on Twitter: @HatterLynn.
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