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

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