The Governor must Veto HB 7069 on behalf of our public schools
From State Representative Bobby DuBose
One of the great joys of serving as an elected state Representative is the opportunity it provides me to interact with the people of our community and act as a voice on their behalf in Tallahassee. That’s why I’m excited to have been afforded the chance to write an occasional column to fill you in on my view on pending legislation, changes in state law that may affect you or your family, and to share my opinion on issues that may be making waves in the media.
There’s been a lot of talk about a bill, HB 7069, that was passed this session that will be greatly detrimental to the future of public education in the state. I voted against this bill on the floor and I am urging Governor Scott to veto it.
There are many problems with HB 7069, both from a policy and a process standpoint.
Most importantly, I disagree with the idea of creating a $140 million slush fund to give to private, for-profit charter management companies at the expense of our public schools. In a year when per-pupil funding only increased by $24, it is clear that money could be better directed to the 90-plus percent of students who attend traditional public schools.
It is also a fact that Florida ranks in the bottom ten nationally when it comes to teacher pay, with our valuable teachers making about $9,000 less than the national average. Rather than addressing this directly, instead they are being offered bonuses based on test scores from when they were in high school.
The bill also includes a policy that will undoubtedly hurt our school districts’ ability to retain their highest performing teachers at a time when Florida is experiencing a growing teacher shortage. To make matters worse, that policy was voted down as a standalone bill in a Senate committee.
That’s where we get to the process. The final legislation, a budget conforming bill comprised of at least 55 different bills, was drafted in secret with no public input or oversight. That does a disservice to Floridians who expect their government to function in the sun-shine and would set a terrible precedent going forward.
While there may be worth-while policies within the bill, the good does not outweigh the bad. On your behalf, Governor Scott must veto HB 7069.