The Florida Senate defeated the Parent Trigger bill for a second year in a row, 20-20! Thanks to all of you who contacted your state senator - your voice combined with thousands of others throughout Florida made the difference.
Here's the full vote count. We were very pleased to see Sen Charlie Dean stand with us and vote down the trigger. However, we were certainly disappointed with Sen. Alan Hays and Sen. Dorothy Hukill for ignoring the will of Marion County parents and citizens who did not want this irresponsible legislation.
The legislative session has not ended yet, and a lot is on the line. We continue to work for a budget that will fully restore art and music education to Marion County Public Schools. Let's keep up the pressure!
The parent trigger is coming up for a vote today in the Florida Senate. If you haven't already, can you make a quick call to your senator and tell them to vote NO on SB 862? This bill opens the door for private charter management companies to take over "failing" public schools who actually need resources and assistance.
Call your state senator today. It only takes a minute, and all you essentially have to say is "Hello, this is ___ and I'm a constituent of Sen. ____ and I'd like to urge him/her to vote no on the parent trigger, SB 862."
North, East, and North Central Marion Sen. Dorothy Hukill (850) 487-5008 Sen. Hukill is a new senator and needs to hear from her constituents on this issue.
South and South Central Marion Sen. Alan Hays (850) 487-5011 Sen. Hays stood with us and voted against the parent trigger last year, but he still needs to hear from you.
West Marion Sen. Charlie Dean (850) 487-5005 Sen. Dean stood with us and voted against the parent trigger last year, but he still needs to hear from you.
The best policies for our public schools involve bringing teachers, parents, and the community together in collaboration to address problems and ensure all children have the opportunity to succeed. Where it's currently law in California, the trigger has only proven one thing: it sows chaos and discord among parents in communities where they should be coming together.
Furthermore, Florida parents are not asking for this legislation. The Florida PTA, along with grassroots parent organizations throughout the state oppose the trigger because of its ineffectiveness and divisiveness. The only major forces behind such a move are corporate foundations and front groups backed by for-profit charter companies. This is not how Florida should make education policy, and it shouldn't ignore the voices of tens of thousands of emails and phone calls from parents urging a no vote on SB 862.
Last year, thanks to pressure from Marions United supporters and people throughout Florida, the parent trigger was voted down. The Florida Senate needs to do the same again this year.
We have a big opportunity to restore full-time art and music education to Marion County in the next few weeks. A modest increase in investment to our public schools this year by the Florida Legislature would restore full-time art and music teachers starting next school year. We're close, but we need your help.
Deep, irresponsible cuts by the state legislature since 2007 have hurt our public schools and our community. Few programs have suffered more than art, music, and media specialists. Currently, 17 educators are forced to share schools, shortchanging a well-rounded education for Marion County's children. That's absolutely unacceptable, and the public has been making its displeasure known to school leaders.
Responding to public pressure, Superintendent of Schools George Tomyn included in the school district's staffing plan for next year a restoration of full-time art and music teachers to each school. This is very welcome news, but it all hinges on whether or not the Florida Legislature comes through with a small increase in investment towards our public schools. We need to let our representatives and senators know we want to restore lost investment in our schools and bring back full time art and music education to our community.
Let's be clear: there's a lot more work to do simply to ensure investment in our schools is restored to 2007 levels, before deep cuts were made. This is only a small first step towards that critical goal.