• New bill being proposed to redistribute funds for traditional schools


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla.,None - Central Florida school officials are concerned about a bill that would redistribute funds for traditional schools.

    WFTV learned millions of dollars are being proposed for charter schools.

    The Central Florida school districts that stand to lose the most are Orange and Polk Counties at $4.4 million each. Lake County is expected to lose $3 million.

    WFTV learned that if SB-1852 becomes a law, 20 percent of the money used to maintain traditional school buildings in Central Florida would instead go to privately run charter schools.

    Orange County Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Richard Collins said it's an amount of money traditional schools can't stand to lose.

    "You're taking scarce resources that are sorely needed to maintain our existing facilities," said Collins.

    The bill proposed by Florida Sen. Stephen Wise would redistribute funds from the voter approved capital improvement tax. Collins says the recession has taken a huge chunk of that money. And in another blow, the state cut the tax rate recently by 25 percent.

    Parent and education activist Linda Kobert told WFTV she is concerned.

    "I think the tax payers would be alarmed to see that much money drained from public schools," Kobert said. "I believe it is one more step toward the ultimate agenda which is the privatization of our public schools. And the taxpayers and parents of this state have not given their permission."

    If the bill becomes a law, Collins says charter schools would get more money per student than traditional schools get.

    WFTV reporter Lori Brown asked Wise's office to comment on the bill last week, but no one returned her call.

    The bill is on the agenda for a committee hearing Monday at 3 p.m.

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