Today's news -- February 14, 2012

 

 

“As roofs sag in old school buildings, air conditioners break, electric panels blow and mold grows in classrooms where students are expected to learn, the maintenance costs keep adding up in this unwinnable game of catch-up for Florida public school districts facing billions of dollars in needed repairs. So what does the Florida Legislature propose to do about it? Nothing substantial. Forget about alleviating this mounting public need or fixing an antiquated funding mechanism that’s shortchanging public schools. Yet public education is the state’s ‘paramount duty,’ as voters made clear when they passed a constitutional amendment in 1998 seeking ‘adequate’ funding for education. A long, drawn-out recession hasn’t helped, but neither have legislators nor Gov. Rick Scott come up with a plan to ensure adequate funding. Instead, the House and Senate are looking to free up $55 million in construction dollars for charter schools operated by private companies, while traditional public school kids are treated like second-class citizens.”
-- Miami Herald editorial.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/13/2639981/robbing-public-schools.html

 

“There is nothing illegal or unethical about ALEC’s work, except that it further demonstrates the pervasive influence of corporate money and right-wing groups on the state legislative process. There is no group with any comparable influence on the left. Lawmakers who eagerly do ALEC’s bidding have much to answer for. Voters have a right to know whether the representatives they elect are actually writing the laws, or whether the job has been outsourced to big corporate interests.”

-- New York Times editorial.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/13/opinion/the-big-money-behind-state-laws.html

 

“There are no limits to state Sen. J.D. Alexander's vendetta against the University of South Florida. It's not enough that the Senate Budget Committee chairman wants the Legislature to arbitrarily grant USF's Lakeland campus its immediate independence. Now his proposed state budget would starve to death the university, an unmistakable threat to anyone who dares to oppose his theft of the branch campus. This is how far Alexander will go to silence his critics and secure his legacy by creating Florida's 12th university at USF Polytechnic. The Senate's proposed budget would cut funding for USF's main campus in Tampa by 58 percent, or $104 million. By comparison, the University of Florida would be cut by 26 percent and Florida State University would be cut by 22 percent, according to a USF analysis. The bull's-eye on USF can be seen from all over Tampa Bay.”

-- St. Petersburg Times editorial.

http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/article1215292.ece

http://www2.tbo.com/news/opinion/2012/feb/14/naopino1-ambushing-usf-ar-358459/

 

Senate budget includes nearly 60 percent cut for USF

http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/college/senate-budget-includes-nearly-60-percent-cut-for-usf/1215332

http://suncoastpasco.tbo.com/content/2012/feb/13/131934/senate-plan-would-cut-usf-budget-a-devastating-58/news/

 

Droppings from the lamest of lame ducks

http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/columns/article1215275.ece

 

Why you should care about the USF Poly debate

http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/columns/why-you-should-care-about-the-usf-polytechnic-debate/1215337

USF Poly budget bill draws protest

http://www.theledger.com/article/20120213/POLITICS/120219699/0/APE

 

 

 

 

 

Prison privatization clings to life in the Senate

A closely divided state Senate on Monday kept alive a plan to privatize correctional facilities across South Florida, setting the measure up for what is expected to be a tight vote today. By a 21-19 vote, the chamber defeated amendment by Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, that would have blocked the plan, instead requiring state economists to study the potential cost savings of private prisons. The bill-killing amendment failed with the opposition of Sen. Dennis Jones, R-St. Petersburg, who said he still intends to vote against the full bill when it comes up for a final vote on Tuesday, which would place the expected vote tally at 20-20. During more than three and a half hours of floor action, the chamber's leadership proposed a series of amendments intended to pre-empt criticisms of SB 2038.  One added by Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Destin, would require the successful bidder to reimburse the state for any expenses incurred as a result of accumulated leave paid to departing employees of the Department of Corrections. "If you keep this bill around for another week or two, you might get unanimous consent on it," quipped Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, a critic of the outsourcing plan who supported Fasano's amendment. Latvala said he is still likely to vote against the bill.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/fl-prison-privatization-florida-senate-20120213,0,5694884.story

http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/private-prison-plan-may-be-one-vote-short-in-senate/1215314

http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=26558804

http://www.newschief.com/article/20120213/APN/1202131225

 

NAACP, corrections workers denounce prison privatization as it resurfaces in Senate

http://floridaindependent.com/69042/naacp-private-prisons
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/opinion/commentary/commentary-smart-policy-is-to-lock-up-fewer-2173910.html

 

Dockery releases ‘smoking gun’ report on private prisons

http://htpolitics.com/2012/02/13/dockery-releases-smoking-gun-report-on-private-prisons/

 

Use sales taxes for jobs, children

http://jacksonville.com/opinion/editorials/2012-02-14/story/use-sales-taxes-jobs-children

 

Florida Virtual School's revenues falling short of expectations

http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/k12/florida-virtual-schools-revenues-falling-short-of-expectations/1215320

 

Miami-Dade teachers approve new health contract (Karen Aronowitz quoted)
http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/13/2640156/miami-dade-teachers-approve-new.html

 

Manatee County school board should rescind teacher pay cut

http://www.bradenton.com/2012/02/14/3870137/manatee-county-school-board-should.html

 

Okaloosa School Board OKs STEMM Center

http://www.nwfdailynews.com/articles/board-47417-walton-center.html

 

Agreement to give districts more money could benefit Treasure Coast schools http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2012/feb/13/agreement-to-give-districts-statewide-more-money/

 

Battle lines drawn over push for prayer in schools

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state/battle-lines-drawn-in-tallahassee-over-push-for-2173839.html

http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=26558375

 

Life examined

http://www.gainesville.com/article/20120214/OPINION01/120219819/1076/opinion?Title=Editorial-Life-examined

 

Justices set Florida redistricting argument for February 29

http://www2.tbo.com/news/politics/2012/feb/13/justices-set-florida-redistricting-argument-for-fe-ar-358275/

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/content/court-schedules-legislative-redistricting-arguments-leap-year-day

 

Florida's missed opportunities to improve health care

http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/article1215293.ece

 

Municipal pension measure gets tangled up in committee

http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=26558959

 

Bennett, who sponsored anti-consumer real estate bill, received thousands from developers
http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2012/02/state_senator_who_sponsored_an.php

 

Senate panel narrows scope of bill that would allow oil drilling on state land

http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=26558296

 

House Republicans yield on extending payroll tax cut

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/14/us/politics/house-republicans-consider-extending-payroll-tax-cut-alone.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/house-republican-leaders-agree-to-payroll-tax-holiday-extension-without-offsets/2012/02/13/gIQAl06iBR_story.html

 

Obama emphasizes education in economic recovery

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/story/2012-02-13/obama-education-economy/53082260/1

 

Military cuts and tax plan are central to Obama budget

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/14/us/politics/obama-budget-raises-taxes-on-the-rich-to-spend-on-jobs.html

 

A responsible budget

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/14/opinion/a-responsible-2013-budget.html

 

NEA president praises Obama's proposed budget (Dennis Van Roekel quoted)
http://www.nea.org/home/50765.htm

 

Obama's budget invests in America's future (Randi Weingarten quoted)
http://leadernet.aft.org/news/article_detail.cfm?ArticleID=3493

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