Monday, July 25, 2011

The Slippery Slope to the Privatization of Public Schools; Defunding!!

As more and more choice, charter, and private schools take over, the Republican plan to completely defund public schools is just around the corner, starting with maintenance costs.
Traditional public schools in Florida will get no money from the state this year for additions or needed repairs to thousands of aging buildings, but charter schools will score big.

All of the state cash budgeted for school construction and maintenance is going to the independent, tax-financed charters favored by the Republican-dominated Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott.

This is that slippery slope conservative fear more than anything when it comes to government regulation, except when it comes to their sacred cows and tearing apart the state’s public schools.  

The state's 350 charter schools will share $55 million, while the approximately 3,000 traditional schools will go without. Sen. David Simmons, a Maitland Republican, said the reason the traditional schools aren't getting any PECO cash: They don't need it. But Seminole Superintendent Bill Vogel counters that Seminole and other districts still need cash for roofing and air conditioner repairs, painting, plumbing work, carpeting and other maintenance projects.

As irresponsible as Sen. Simmons reason is to ignore standard maintenance at public schools, the case for private school favoritism gets even more outrageous with this amazing double standard:

While the new Choices building would become the property of the Seminole school district should Choices ever close, Deputy Superintendent George Kosmac said he is not sure the district would want it. The state encourages charters to abandon old rules and be "innovative," and one of the innovations is to build facilities to general code rather than the stricter, and more expensive, state codes required for regular public schools. Kosmac and other school district officials around the state are troubled at both the double standard and the Legislature's praise of charters for building cheaper schools.

The ultimate plan? Maintenance funding would have to come from raising property taxes, angering homeowners, who would then argue for the cheaper charter choice. That would result in the end of a great pubic education for the growing number of have not's, who won't be able to afford the rising cost of private schools.

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