Two South Florida charter schools are using parents to enter their battle to get a controversial education bill passed. The hotly debated bill is known as HB7069 and one of its main criticisms is a requirement for public schools to share capital funds for maintenance and construction with privately funded charter schools.
Mater Lakes Academy and City of Hialeah Educational Academy are offering incentives for their students to write a letter to Gov. Rick Scott concerning the bill. On the homepage of both schools’ websites, an alert was posted explaining how families will receive five hours credit toward their encouraged volunteer hours at school if they wrote a letter to the governor.
The principal of Mater Lakes Academy, Rene Rovirosa, explains the incentive. “It's not a bribe, it's civic participation either they can write for it or against it,” said Rovirosa.
One student at Mater Lakes Academy told NBC 6 she doesn’t feel pressure from the administrators. “No, of course not, it would totally be a pleasure for me to do that,” said Taylor Allan Garcia, student. One should note that Mater Lakes Academy is hoping to score when it comes to additional public funding for charter schools.
Gov. Scott touched on the charter schools’ incentives during a news conference at Miami International Airport, where he announced the creation of additional jobs. "I don't know the details of this but I tell people they should get involved in the process," said Gov. Scott.
Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho is critical of the bill. "Transfer those dollars over to often for profit management entity with no guarantee that those buildings will ever be a public asset, that's fundamentally wrong," Carvalho said.
Gov. Scott is still waiting for the bill to reach his desk. Once it’s there, he has 15 days to make a decision.