Thursday, March 10, 2011


Posted For

Sandra in Brevard

Referring to the complexities of SB736 and appearing in small type off the left of a Miami Herald article, the question is asked "How much will all this cost?"

"No one knows. Department of Education officials say they will use a big chunk of the state’s $700 million federal Race to the Top grant to develop new tests and help train districts to use the new evaluation systems. But a legislative analysis said districts will likely need to spend their own money to finish the job. The state also will face 'significant' costs to evaluate charter schools’ compliance with the new rules."

Is it possible that the legislators, policy makers, and staff have no idea of costs? I believe they know and have known for two years that this piece of legislation has a hefty price tag leaving local school districts no alternative than to seek property tax increases to meet all the requirements of this unfunded mandate. The hint of that knowledge came last year with the inclusion of a forced millage increase in the first version of SB6. It was dropped, but it is clear, fiscal impact has long been on legislators' minds.

Senator Nan Rich reminded Senator Stephen Wise that the results of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded grant to Hillsborough County Schools would inform meaningful legislation.

"Why don't we wait?" she asked Wise. "We have an incredible pilot going on in Hillsborough. Why would we not wait for the results to know we have something that is working?"

Wise responded by saying that if the Legislature stalls, nothing will get done. The time is now to lay the framework for improved teaching, he said, leaving plenty of time to get it done.

"If we continue to stall and delay there are kids who will be irreparably damaged," Wise said.
Bill proponents persist in a philosophy that there is plenty of time and money to get this wrong and no time to get it right. They persist in pass it now, fix it later legislating. Citing kids "who will be irreparably damaged" if the bill does not pass is disingenuous rhetoric that cannot be defended and ignores all evidence that the contrary is true. Such rhetoric sounds like desperation.

In simple English, this is an unfunded mandate and experimentation, which ultimately local communities will pay for through increased taxes. If it were otherwise, we would have heard that. Instead, when it comes to costs, there is absolute silence. And that is unacceptable.

Call your Florida Senator and Representative and ask for a NO vote on SB736 on the grounds of fiscal irresponsibility. Then, make one more call to Governor Scott's office and ask him to reject this poorly written bill that arrive at his desk. Governor Scott has no recourse but to reject  this bill for the very reasons he rejected Speed Rail.

The bill may be voted on as early as tomorrow in the Senate. All signs it will be in the House very soon after and off to the Governor.
Missed blogs on educational reform? They are all here.



  1. In so many ways Wise sounds like Nancy Pelsosi

    Irreparably damaged?

    If that's the case, there are a bunch of sitting Senators in Tallahassee, Wise and Altman among them who have been allowing kids to be Irreparably Damaged the same Senator's put FCAT. another fix all scheme in place

  2. It passed the Senate today.

  3. Anonymous, sadly I'm not surprised. House Members are more vulnerable to public displeasure than Senators.

    Start encouraging everyone you know to send emails. Demand specific answers to cost questions..

    I sent an email to Workman last year,,, his reply was thirty pages of talking points.

    All I'd asked was how much will this cost In a thirty page reply, he never came close to answering.

  4. SB736 passed largely on partisan lines, 26-12. Two Republicans voted NO - Senator Paula Dockery and Senator Dennis Jones. Dockery said: "Most critical, she said, the bill needs money to back it up.

    "We don't even know what it's going to cost," Dockery said, noting the looming costs required to create assessments needed to evaluate teachers.

    "Other senators acknowledged the bill was not perfect. But they said the state has three years to put meat on the bones."

    The State doesn't have money and the districts don't have the money for this unfunded mandate. AND WHERE WILL THAT MEAT BE COMING FROM? Don't hold your breath for an answer.

  5. Do like Paula, fr two years she's the only one in Tally who's been consistently honest about this.

  6. "Haridopolos acknowledged that the outspoken Dockery was punished but he disagrees with lawmakers who complain that that his office controls the agenda: “I don’t think being heavy-handed works,” he said."

    “Most people would think that with 40 senators and 120 House members, that we all go up to Tallahassee representing the districts that elect us, and that there’s independent thought — that people read bills and vote their consciences, ” said Sen. Paula Dockery, a Lakeland Republican. “But it doesn’t work that way.”

  7. I need to find an embed code for the Dockery-Wise Exchange in the Senate Today....

    Wise danced around everyone of her questions.. the word jackass comes to mind

  8. Sorry Varmint, you've been told about off topic cut and paste spamming

  9. What happened to you, Mike?


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