Oy vey, just when you think there is the worst of the worst another pops up. How Eric Fresen, who has had multiple conflicts of interest isn’t in jail is beyond me. Welcome to Florida.
From the Miami Herald: The bill found little opposition at first — until House Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Erik Fresen, R-Miami, added the contentious provision about construction funding.
Charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately managed, have long sought a stable revenue stream for construction and maintenance. Unlike traditional public schools, they cannot levy property taxes for that purpose. But school districts oppose sharing their tax dollars because most of the money is earmarked for debt service. What’s more, they point out that many charter schools are housed in privately owned facilities that do not revert to the public if the school closes.
The bill that passed Friday would ensure charter schools receive about 40 percent of the amount traditional public schools can raise for construction and maintenance, Fresen said.
If the state does not provide enough money in the budget, as it has done in recent years, the school districts would have to make up the difference with their tax revenue.
That Fresen sponsored the amendment was controversial. His firm has helped build several charter schools, and his brother-in-law runs Academica, the state’s largest charter school management company, .
Fresen said he did not consider the amendment to be a conflict of interest because it would not increase funding for charter schools.
“There’s already money for capital outlay,” he told the Herald/Times. “All this does is create a predictable framework for this capital outlay money to be expended.”
Democrats also raised problems with the measure itself. Several voiced their concerns during a caucus meeting earlier Friday.
“The deal with charter schools was supposed to be that they operate on a shoestring budget,” said state Rep. Richard Stark, D-Weston. “They didn’t need the capital outlay funding.”
Just so everybody understands, this means we are going to be giving for profit charter schools, like the one his brother runs, more tax payer money.