How Florida’s entire education system is tilted towards charter school owners

If we break it down, Tallahassee only cares about one group in education, and it’s not teachers, students, or families, nope, it’s none of them. Sadly the only group Tallahassee really cares about are charter school owners.  

Special sales tax referendums have become popular in Florida as locality after locality stepped up as Tallahassee has chronically underfunded education. This money was to fill needs and plug holes created by this underfunding. This year Tallahassee said no more of that and made it so districts have to share with charter schools on a per-pupil basis. Jacksonville Florida has a referendum on the ballot this fall, and it is estimated this will cost the district hundreds of millions of dollars.

HUNDREDS of MILLIONs of dollars will not go into schools that desperately need them but will instead go into the pockets of charter school owners. 

The thing is we are just getting started.

Mathew Tanner out of Palm Beach routinely puts out expert analysis of education issues, and he put this out today.     

Taxpayers should be concerned about how the new minimum teacher pay will disproportionately fund charter schools more than traditional schools.
According to the FDOE website, “Charter schools are funded through the Florida Education Finance Program in the same way as all other public schools in the school district.” This means that charter schools and traditional schools receive the same funding from the state. Since they are funded the same shouldn’t charter and traditional school teachers be paid the same? Charter schools intentionally pay their teachers less. By doing this charters are able to generate greater profits for their owners or management companies.

With the new minimum teacher pay law, these same charter schools, that every year choose to intentionally pay their teachers less, are now going to be rewarded with more money from the state. When looking at Palm Beach County for the last two years, it shows how almost 85% of charter schools and only 44% of traditional school teachers are going to benefit from this new law. In order to “level” the salary playing field for charter schools, the state is going to have to give them a greater proportional share of the money available.

This should be a concern to taxpayers as almost 90% of the parents and students in Florida continue to choose traditional schools over charter schools. Despite this, our legislators and Governor continue to find ways to divert more money toward charters and away from traditional schools. Notice how all the charter school lobbyists and advocates that constantly use the tag line, “let the money follow the student” remain silent on this one. That’s because the money goes directly to the charter school, just like the hundreds-of-millions of PECO dollars each year.

By continuing to divert more money toward charters and away from traditional schools, what do you think the future holds for traditional schools in the state of Florida? Our traditional schools are the foundation of our society. They should be treated, respected, and funded as such.
Above are Palm Beach’s stats but you will find similar numbers in any district with charter schools.
So Charter school owners and management companies are going to get even more money? Hmm who wants to bet whose pockets the lion’s share of that money actually goes into?
Imagine if we had a state that cared about teachers and students and not charter school operators who and not coincidently steer huge sums into the pockets of Tallahassee legislators, more than a few of who are involved with or have family members involved with charters as well.
Charter school owners are raking it in, while public schools are dying in the vine.

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