Senate Bill 7070 is a bill that should concern every citizen in Florida. As Senator Montford said in today’s Senate Appropriations Education Subcommittee meeting, if this bill passes it will “fundamentally change” education in the state.
The bill includes the creation of Florida’s seventh voucher program—but this one is different from the rest because instead of being funded through “tax credits,” the vouchers would be funded directly from the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) meaning public school dollars would be funneled to unaccountable, private and religious schools.
SB 7070 also revises Best and Brightest. It would remove the requirement for SAT or ACT scores, but the program remains discriminatory. The bonuses would still not be available for our hard-working education staff professionals. Nor are the bonuses available for pre-kindergarten teachers or instructional personnel at any level other than classroom teachers.
FEA members were very well represented in the committee meeting. Today, the committee heard from teachers, aspiring educators, and retirees from Leon, Gadsden, Seminole, Osceola, and Dade Counties. Also speaking up was a high school student who spoke in support of her teachers. These advocates were also joined by parents and community members who support neighborhood public schools.
We want to give a big thank you to all who spoke to the committee today in favor of public education!
Unfortunately, the committee ignored the overwhelming public sentiment expressed at the committee and approved the bill anyways along a party-line vote.
The bill has at least one more stop before it goes to the full Senate for a vote. At some point SB 7070 will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee; as soon as we have a date we’ll let you know.
But you shouldn’t wait to contact your senator and tell them to oppose SB 7070!
The senate’s budget proposal as well as the state Board of Education’s vote to reduce fees are both evidence that your voice is being heard in. Keep up the activism!