Saturday, May 18, 2013


As the first parents in Florida to call a vote  in January '13 at KB K8 Center, I  would like to Congratualate Rowlett Elementary SAC Committee for taking the gigantic step toward taking back your "A" school without waiting for a diagnosis that it is failing school. This the new narrative reinvent the public school system not reform it.  Converting existing public schools into charter should be renamed "Governing Schools". It should be distingusihed from the "For Profit" Charter and District run Schools. This us third option in the school choice movement and is long overdue. 

What started with a assertive letter to the General Counsel of Miami-Dade County Public Schools on October 04th and no response by the District -MDPTA led to misinformation campaign against us and deny our right to express the merits of our proposal on school grounds. It Cumilnated by forcing me to resign as President of the KBCS-PTA and ultimately a lop-sided vote tallied on March 1st 2013 "no" parents 531-31. And 83-0-1 "no" vote by the teachers.                                                    But it was as just the beginning for "we were not in it to win it but change it." In doing so a  legal precedence for state statutue 1002.33 3(b) has been established. It means;  submitt a trigger letter and call the Vote!! This is the first foremost in a quest to encourage parents like those in Manatee County to take back thier public school before the school fails by way apapthy or budget cuts. Do not let a good school fail your children. Most importantly, in transparent manner; with a fair debate in the Public Square, access to the eligable voters and finally the call the Vote- the American Way . None of these rights are guarenteed in the existing in 2004 law.

Round II is to amend the 2004 Parent Empowerment Law next legislative session. This will assure future Florida parents that School District are compelled to  facilitate fair balloting processes that are not mandated by rhe 2004 law.                  Our suggested language was submitted formally in Tallahassee this legislative session to Senator Stargel and the Governor. So let's get to work Suppport this blogspot and pass it a
address along.

In the meantime, may the force be with you Principal Flynn and his SAC committee. We are standing by -we have your back!.........Expect Success. 0' 


Rowlett could become 1st converted charter school in Manatee County

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 12:44 pm | Updated: 6:56 pm, Wed May 8, Fallon Silcox
BRADENTON - If approved, Rowlett Magnet Elementary School could become the first ever converted charter school in Manatee County.
The school's principal says parents initiated the request, and by becoming a charter, he says both students and parents would benefit.
Rowlett is in the very beginning stages of the charter conversion process, but Principal Brian Flynn says with so much uncertainty with the district's finances, becoming a charter school would empower parents and staff.
25 other schools across the state have gone through the conversion process, but Rowlett could soon be the first in Manatee County.
Flynn says parents initiated the request after discovering a law that states any school that would like to convert to a charter can do so under certain guidelines. Among those, the staff and parents must vote with a 51 percent majority in favor of the conversion.
Flynn says he has received almost all positive feedback so far, with the benefits outweighing any downside. “It's about empowerment for the parents. The parents will have a greater say in what goes on here at the school. We are a performing arts and communication magnet school and they're concerned with will that be able to continue with the budget situation we have. They want to make sure the well-rounded education we give our students here continues.”
The charter school application is due August 1st, which means school officials will have to work quickly.
Voting will begin on May 31st and if enough votes are in favor of the conversion, the school will submit its application and the district will have sixty days to review it.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Second Fla. Parent Empowerment Movement to convert -to-charter has begun in Manatee County


ROWLETT HAS SOMETHING WE DO NOT HAVE a visionary principal supporting the effort without fear of being demoted to a motor pool and a school board member looking forward to seeing their charter application. I doubt thier city representatives will act against their constituents interest over the School District's. The Bradenton Herald article better explains what Miami Herald refuse to report as we tried to articulate to UTD teachers in Miami-Dade; you have nothing to lose except your dependence on the School Districts. 

Read on.  O'


Manatee's Rowlett Elementary considers charter school option during budget crisis

Published: May 8, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Rowlett Magnet Elementary School, concerned about the financial uncertainty facing the Manatee County School District, is exploring a novel approach to ensure the quality of its academic programs, which focus on communications and the arts.
Teachers and parents will vote this month on whether to convert Rowlett into a public charter school by the 2014-2015 school year, which would give it a degree of independence from the district.
If approved, Rowlett would be the district's first conversion charter school and the 21st such school in Florida.
"It's uncharted territory in Manatee County," said Christine Sket, a student advisory committee member who addressed parents at a meeting Tuesday at the school.
Principal Brian Flynn
brought parents into the school to present steps the school must take to become a conversion charter school. He said his budget has already been cut as the school district grapples with a severe deficit.
Superintendent of Schools Rick Mills announced a spending freeze this week through July 1, including all spending not required by the state for safety and health.
Any spending deemed unnecessary will come straight out of staff salaries, Mills said.
Flynn said he doesn't know if the magnet school will be able to offer Spanish classes and after-school enrichments classes for its 900 students if the cuts continue beyond July 1.
"It's going to be very tight and tough over the next couple of years," Flynn said. "I'm concerned, yes."
Flynn will retire next year as principal, which would make him eligible to be hired by the charter school's governing board.
Debra Woithe, chairwoman of the school advisory committee, said the degree of control a charter school would provide Rowlett is a big selling point.
"Even if we didn't have a financial crisis now, this is still a good choice for us," she said.
In Polk County, where nine schools have converted to charter schools, the conversions haven't all been smooth, according to Carolyn Bridges, Polk's senior director of magnet, choice and charter schools.
"Look at 95 percent of dollars that a charter generates," she said. "Now as a school they are independently taking on payroll, health insurance and ESE services. Suddenly you have to take all of that on. It can look appealing but as you dig into budget ... about 60 percent to 70 percent figure out that they can't do it on their own."
Teachers are still considered public employees although they are technically on leave of absence to work at a charter school, said Cheryl Etters of the Florida Department of Education. According to Florida statutes, a charter school teacher would continue to maintain and accrue seniority, "... and may continue to be covered by the benefit programs of that school district, if the charter school and the district school board agree to this arrangement and its financing."
Flynn said staff financial security is important.
"The biggest concern is that the staff will be taken care of," in any move to charter school status, he said.
Rowlett's aproximately 75 teachers will still be enrolled in the district retirement program, he said. And conversion charter schools he has contacted offer benefits plans "competitive if not better" than what they had before, Flynn said.
When asked the downside to becoming a charter school, Flynn said he hasn't seen any. He emphasized it's about being able to have more control over their children's education.
"It's about student achievement. It's about parent empowerment. And it's about teacher empowerment," he told parents Tuesday.
As a charter school, teachers would have more input on curriculum and have a voice in any evaluation process, he added.
In an e-mail sent late Tuesday to the Herald, the district said Mills visited Tuesday with staff at Rowlett and "shared his vision about future plans for the School District," but it did not elaborate on that vision. The e-mail indicated Mills plans to meet with Rowlett parents next week.
Manatee School Board Chairwoman Karen Carpenter said she's looking forward to evaluating the charter school application. As board chair, she'll be looking at the school's viability and sustainability to make sure it can stand on its own.
"It's good to take a look at all the options," Carpenter said. "My concern is the quality of education. This will be interesting."
While a charter school is accountable to the school district to be financially solvent and to maintain the same levels of achievement as other schools, it also has more control over how it spends money and how curriculum is taught.
"(Charter schools) have a little more flexibility in who they hire," DOE's Etters said.
Rowlett has consistently been a top performer in the Manatee school district earning As and Bs from the state since 2008.
"I think it's a positive step," said Susan DeWitt, who has two children enrolled at Rowlett. "Financial issues are everything" to maintain unique school programs such as drama, film school and music classes. "The kids are exposed to so many different things that aren't in other public schools."
The next step is a vote by parents and teachers. Each household, regardless of the number of students, has one vote. Teachers also have a vote.
Votes may be cast during the last week of classes May 31 to June 7. Ballots remain sealed until counted at 6 p.m. June 10 at a public meeting at the school.
Fifty-one percent of all Rowlett households and 51 percent of teachers must approve the plan. If the plan is approved, school officials must submit an application to the Manatee school board by Aug. 1 and the school board has 60 days to approve or reject the application.
If the school board turns down the application, Rowlett would have 30 days to appeal to the state Department of Education, which must rule within 10 days of the appeal.

Read more here:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

VISIT TO TALLAHASSEE " We are not in it to win it . We were in it to change it"

As the first parents in US history to force a vote to allow parents to file a charter application to convert a public school into a "Governing School";

I attended the most recent Florida Legislative session in Tallahassee. I arrived with our suggested language to amend the 2004 Parent Empowerment Law in hand. In synopsis are changes to the text to conduct fair balanced balloting process:

A. Changing the present text from: ‘and’ to ‘or’ to eliminate the quorum vote criteria.
B. Mandatory disclosure of the school’s budget within three (3) days of submitting Trigger letter to School Administrator.
C. Proponents Access to any take home student/parent communicators.   
D. The Full Disclosure of mailing lists of all eligible voters.  
E. One Public Forum hosted by the proponents in School Auditorium or Cafeteria.
F. By rule renames these conversion schools to 'Governing Schools' to eliminate the word “Charter” from this effort.  It is important to differentiate this exercise from the For-Profit Charter business model and establish the significant differences between the two types of school choices.

Hector Ceballos and I,  believe this amendment to the 2004 law passed by Governor Bush, will keep the State of Florida as the trail blazer in the Parent Trigger movement as he intended.

Simply put, our state will have the most accountable law for parents to diligently get involved in the reinvention of the public school system.  I gave my testimony of all negative impediments we encountered that denied our freedom of expression and debate in the public square while being subjects of intimidation by censure from FPTA and MDPTA . As it stands now it is an Un-American Law if not amended as we suggest. I met with Senators, Representatives and Governor's office during my visit. I  emphasized our desire to redefine this effort going forward to better differientiate it  from the "For Profit Charter " business model and traditional School District run institutional model.

Governing Schools are public schools on County owned school property that consist of a board of trustees of parent guardians over the schools adminstration budget. In doing so, Parents, with children attending the respective school, will discover ways to better manage the tax allocation for school's finances in order to reinvest budget surpluses back into the school year after year. For example we discovered, more than $1, 083,000.00 in surplus funds in M-D Key Biscayne K8 Center budget.

[ Yet we are asked to purchase reems of copy paper, paint brushes and paint eisles, surge protectors and image projectors, water coolers etc. etc. becuase District routinely claims budget shortfalls countywide. see a earlier post on this blogspot]

These surpluses can be used to award pay increases to excellant teachers directly without teachers losing thier retirement benefits with the Florida Retirement System. Additionally, these funds can accumulate and act as the impetus for corporate philantropy matching grants to demolish and redevelop aging schools facilities countywide, statewide and nationwide. Therefore eventually, no need to issue taxpayer financed school bonds every 25 years for the same purpose.

This is the new narrative in school choice: reinventing America’s public school system not to reform it. We seek a path to establish governing boards and budget surpluses without the necessity of the profit motive becuase there are no expense for  land, real estate taxes and marketing to recruit students.  Politically it will eliminate the privatization of public school’s naratives by School Districts-FPTA and/or Teachers Union's  lobbyists. Along with thier privatization claims, these are the most popular counter narratives politicians fear the most in opposition to parental school choice.

Florida has a obligation to lead not follow California or any of the other (7) seven states with petition-based Parent trigger laws. These laws have demonstated to be ineffectual for real parent empowerment or change. Besides, why are politicians in Florida, so willing to uphold the Constitutional power of the School Districts to determine whether it failed students or not, yet, are not committed to implementing Florida’s Class size amendment? Class size was passed in 2002 and was to be implemented by 2010.

Our amendment language is the end all, be all,  as it mandates excellence in public primary and secondary  education on many fronts or parents will simply call the vote to take back the school! These Governing School conversions are the most accountable path to get this country back on path of intellectual ambition and self-reliance. Culturally, public education is the root of socialism by government dependency for those who do not seek higher learning. It also raises the false sense of entitlement without work ethic that is prevelant in our society. It is not a good example of what works in America. 

Mr. Ceballos and I, committed to this public service on our own dime just in time.

"Were not in it to win it. We were in it to change it.  That  “some day” should not be just be another “one day” next year.

It is right now. Please join our cause.  

MacontheRock Expects Success. Ó