Public dollars for private gain? The problem with funding charter schools

House Bill 7069 does not protect taxpayers in the event a charter school fails.
By: 
May. 16, 2017

By Trevor Tucker

Guest Writer

House Bill 7069 has some good points, but the overall effect will hurt the children in Flagler County. Certainly it will change education in Flagler County for generations to come.

Instead of listing all of the problems with this bill, I will try to give you one reason why taxpayers should urge Gov. Rick Scott to veto HB 7069. 

I urge all citizens to email or write Governor Scott to oppose using tax dollars to enrich private enterprises with tax dollars that do not benefit the public.

Capital dollars are currently allocated from the state to the school district to maintain the publicly held buildings the school district owns. This bill will take public tax dollars and give them to building owners to renovate, remodel or build additions to privately owned buildings that are leased by charter school. If the charter school moves out of the building or shuts down, the public does not get the building or the benefit of the taxpayer-funded renovations.

In order for Flagler Schools to expend capital dollars, it must show a need for those dollars in a Florida Inventory of School Houses report. Charter schools will not have to demonstrate the need for these dollars.  They will receive them based solely on student enrollment.  

Charter schools will also have the flexibility to expend these dollars on digital instruction software and operating systems, license fees and annual-leave payouts. 

These capital dollars should be used for taxpayer buildings, not to enrich the building owners of charter schools. 

Supporting the needs of Charter Schools should not be to the detriment of traditional public schools.

The capital needs of charter schools should be addressed in legislation that allows the taxpayer the ability to recoup the dollars invested in the building if the charter school fails. That could be either in joint ownership of the building or a payback from the building owner for the improvements.

I urge all citizens to email or write Governor Scott to oppose using tax dollars to enrich private enterprises with tax dollars that do not benefit the public.

Trevor Tucker is the chairman of the Flagler County School Board.