It’s no surprise Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a massive education bill Thursday at a private Catholic school in Orlando. His commitment to public education is as phony as the denials there were secret deals to preserve this gift to private schools and charter schools. Now Republican leaders in Tallahassee all claim to be winners, and the losers are the school superintendents, principals and teachers who begged the governor to veto House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s scheme to eviscerate public education.
The fix was in before the Legislature met last week in special session. Corcoran magically dropped his crusade against the governor’s key issues, preserving money for tourism promotion and enticements for companies to create jobs. Lawmakers also threw a little more money toward public schools after Scott vetoed that portion of the budget in a faux concern for their well-being. They even gave the governor money toward Lake Okeechobee dike repairs after summarily rejecting the idea during the regular session.
The payoff came Thursday, when Scott signed Corcoran’s top priority into law after days of “reviewing” the legislation. What Scott was studying was his prospective U.S. Senate campaign next year and the political risks of angering the Republican base by standing up for public schools and against Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes. Standing with him Thursday: Corcoran, his newfound friend and potential candidate for governor who fought the governor for months over Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida.