FEA urges Senate Chairs to Make Schools Priority

FEA Urges New Chairs of
House Education Committees to
Make Schools a Priority

 


Florida Education Association President Andy Ford today congratulated the new House Education committee and council chairs urging them to make Florida public schools a priority during these difficult economic times. Representatives Faye Culp (R-Tampa), Anitere Flores (R-Miami), David Rivera (R-Miami) and John Legg (R-Port Richey) were appointed to the chair the state House PreK-12 policy and appropriations councils and committees. Ford said the union looks forward to working with the House education committee leaders.

“FEA members appreciate having Legislative leaders who are willing to listen to our concerns and make our schools a priority,” said Ford. “After going through the heart-wrenching process of cutting needed services to the bone during the last budget cutting session, we are seeing signs that this Legislature is more willing to look at the revenue side of the balance sheet,’’ Ford said, “they know that the progress our schools have made cannot be sustained by stripping needed funds from our public schools.”

As state funds continue to dwindle, Florida’s chronically underfunded public education system is facing drastic reductions in services to students. During the last 15 months, the Legislature has cut more than $3 billion from education budgets. Teachers and students are feeling the cuts at the classroom level as districts struggle with severe underfunding. Another year of even more cuts will not only create a fiscal catastrophe for Florida’s public education system but will have an impact on our most vulnerable students and the programs they desperately need.

“We are confident that House education committee chairs will demonstrate the leadership we need in making education a priority in Florida, even during these trying times,” Ford said.

The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with more than 140,000 members. FEA represents pre K-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational support professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees.

 

 

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Making Our Schools a Priority
Should Be Task of New Chairs of
Senate Education Committees

 


Florida Education Association President Andy Ford today urged Senator Nancy Detert (R-Sarasota) and Senator Stephen Wise (R-Jacksonville) to make our schools a priority during the upcoming Legislative Session. Ford congratulated Detert on her appointment as chairs of the state Senate Pre-K-12 Education Committee and Wise on his reappointment to the Senate PreK-12 Education Appropriations Committee emphasizing that the union looks forward to working with them on education issues.

“FEA members have appreciated Senators Detert’s and Wise’s willingness to listen to our concerns in the past and to engage in a constructive dialogue on education issues,” said Ford. “We may not have always agreed on the issues, but Senators Detert and Wise have always kept the door open for dialogue.’’

As state funds continue to dwindle, Florida’s chronically underfunded public education system is facing drastic reductions in services to students. During the last 15 months, the Legislature has cut more than $3 billion from education budgets. Teachers and students are feeling the cuts at the classroom level as districts struggle with severe underfunding. Another year of even more cuts will not only create a fiscal catastrophe for Florida’s public education system but will have an impact on our most vulnerable students and the programs they desperately need.

“We are confident that Senators Detert and Wise will demonstrate the leadership we need in making education a priority in Florida, even during these trying times,” Ford said.

The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with more than 140,000 members. FEA represents pre K-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational support professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees.

 

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FEA takes issue with OPPAGA report on
corporate tax voucher program “savings”

 

 

 

Florida Education Association President Andy Ford said today that a draft report from the state Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) provided a misleading accounting of “savings” to the state through the corporate income tax voucher program.


“The FEA agrees with Senate Democratic Leader Al Lawson’s call for a re-examination of the findings in this report,” Ford said. “Senator Lawson cites ‘limitations placed upon OPPAGA’ in coming up with its findings that certainly need to be looked at.”

Ford noted that the OPPAGA report said it based its information on savings largely on records provided by the groups overseeing the voucher programs and in focus groups with administrators of the program and the schools receiving the vouchers – exactly the groups that benefit the most from the perception that there are savings to the state through this program. No one with an opposing view – or who could offer other outlooks on the supposed savings – was listed as being used to gather information for this report. He also noted that OPPAGA made assumptions in the report that may not be accurate.

“The report also doesn’t offer any information on the quality of the schools who participate in the corporate voucher program,” Ford said. “These schools do not face the same accountability measures that public schools face, so making any kind of quality comparisons are impossible.”

“FEA supports authentic and meaningful accountability,” Ford said. “We want to work together with the state to make our schools a priority. We agree with Senator Lawson that OPPAGA needs to dig deeper and provide a report that isn’t based on assumptions and hypotheticals that may not be valid.”


The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with more than 140,000 members. FEA represents pre K-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational support professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees.

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