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Governor Scott signs controversial school bill into law

Hello! My name is Christian and I will be working with JPEF this summer as a Policy Intern. I am a Political Science and Sociology Double Major at Howard University in Washington D.C. I am a graduate of Stanton College Preparatory School here in Jacksonville!  

- Christian Hall, Policy Intern

Governor Rick Scott signed controversial HB 7609 into law at 4:08 p.m. this afternoon at Morning Star Catholic School in Orlando. This $419 million K-12 public school bill has incited much criticism and opposition statewide from traditional public school advocates. 

The 274 page bill makes many changes to state law, ranging from requiring elementary schools to offer daily recess to making it easier for teachers to win bonuses to letting charter schools get a share of school district construction money. The bill also creates opportunities  for charters to move into areas with low-performing, traditional public schools.

The bill has many implications for public schools in Duval County, such as reduced capital funding is one of those implications. HB 7069 requires the sharing of local capital millage with charter schools.

One of the most vocal opponents of the bill has been Duval County School Board Chairman Paula D. Wright, who has taken to social media in recent weeks to decry the bill.

She and the Duval County School Board even took the unusual step of asking 30 people who traveled from Jacksonville (teachers, parents and students)  to meet with lawmakers and deliver about 25 letters opposing HB 7069 to the governor’s office.

Duval County residents gathered Tuesday in front of Angie’s subs to stand up in protest of HB 7609 as Governor Scott visited the local small business. “Governor Scott don’t sign that line, Veto 7069,” could be heard from protesters lined up along the sidewalk along Beach Boulevard as the Governor spoke to supporters gathered in the shop.  

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Despite local efforts to support a veto, the bill has been signed. In light of these new changes that will undoubtedly impact public schools in Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund remains committed to sparking innovation, relationships and resources to power the potential within and around our public schools so that all students can achieve excellent outcomes. We encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter to learn more about how you can support our work to ensure all students are prepared for college or a career and life.