The Florida Legislature sends 55 million to charter schools, zero to public

From First Coast News.com

by Ken Ammaro

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Duval schools were expecting $10 million this school year for maintenance, repairs, renovations and remodeling, but the legislature has opted not to give public schools a penny.

“They’re undermining public education,” said Tommy Hazouri, a member of the Duval County Public Schools Board.

He said the governor and the legislature are sending the wrong message about public education. “Fifty percent of our schools are in need of repairs; they’re old,” said Hazouri.

Last year, Duval County schools received $7 million from the legislature for maintenance, remodeling and repair; this year it was expecting $10.3 million but will get nothing.

“While we can rework the numbers, this is a tremendous hit and loss for our capital program,” said Doug Ayars, COO of Duval schools.

Last year public schools in Florida received $122 million for maintenance but this year lawmakers declined to appropriate a dime.

“We will prioritize and fix what is a safety issue,” said Hazouri.

Last year public schools in Florida received $122 million for maintenance but this year lawmakers declined to appropriate a dime.

Yet, they approved $55 million dollars for maintenance and repair of charter schools only.

Colleen Wood is the executive director of Save Duval Schools. “I think it shows the favoritism that’s been happening with charter schools over public schools,” she said.

Hazouri said the cut in capital outlay funding also means Duval County will have to cut back on the IT projects.

This is a critical time for public education and lawmakers are directing tax dollars in the wrong direction, said Wood. “It is not a good thing; our budget shows where our values are and right now our state seems to be valuing charter schools over traditional public schools,” said Wood.

http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/local/article/212242/3/Jacksonville-Schools-Cut-10-Million-For-Repairs?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|t

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