Florida roundup: Rick Scott’s education agenda, more charter school payout


Rick Scott’s education plans. The Orlando Sentinel leads with Scott’s proposal to issue state-funded debit cards to teachers so they no longer reach into their own pockets to pay for school supplies. More from WINK News, Fort Myers News Press, Palm Beach Post. The Florida Democratic Party had a negative reaction, but Scott’s plan generated mostly positive comments, including from the Florida PTA, Sen. Bill Montford of the Florida superintendents association and Wayne Blanton, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association. According to the Associated Press, Blanton “endorsed (Scott’s) recommendation to lift a cap on charter schools with a caveat — as long decisions to create new charters are left to local school officials. ‘An open-ended lifting of the cap may be more than we need,’ Blanton said, adding that districts are having a hard time keeping up with the growth of charters.”

More charter school payout. The principal of NorthStar High School, the charter school whose board paid her more than $500,000 as the failing school was shutting down, consumed the lion’s share of the 180-student school’s funding last year, the Orlando Sentinel reports. “I have never seen an act that egregious in 15 years of working with charters,” said State Rep. John Legg, R-Port Richey, a charter school business administrator.

Teachers union bus tour. The AFT bus tour in support of President Obama is rolling through Florida. According to a press release, it’s hitting Tampa, Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. AFT President Randi Weingarten is aboard. More from the Hechinger Report.

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BY Ron Matus

Ron Matus is director of Research & Special Projects at Step Up for Students and a former editor of redefinED. He joined Step Up in February 2012 after 20 years in journalism, including eight years as an education reporter with the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times).