Gov. Rick Scott signs bill to help charter schools

ORLANDO, Fla. — Gov. Rick Scott was in Orlando on Thursday to sign a controversial education bill.

About 20 people protested against the massive bill, known as HB 7069.

“It's a really sad day for Florida, for our students, teachers and public education,” said Wendy Doromal, of the Orange County Classroom Teacher’s Association.

The 278-page measure would impact everything from recess and testing, to teacher bonuses.

The legislation steers more money to privately run charter schools, requires recess in elementary schools and tinkers with the state's oft-criticized standardized testing system. It also includes $30 million extra for a program that provides services to disabled children.

School superintendents have been pleading for weeks for Scott to veto the bill, which has also been roundly criticized by the union that represents teachers. The legislation narrowly passed the Legislature, but it was a top priority of House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

Opponents are worried that funds will be diverted from traditional schools to charter schools.

Doromal had a strong message for Scott.

“Shame on you for passing such a destructive bill that will harm our students,” she said.

The protesters said there are some parts of the bill they like, but too many others they don't like and can't support.

“I feel like they dropped a few little things in there that are buzzwords now, like recess, and things that get parents excited, but overall, the bill is not going to help their children,” said teacher Rosemary De Garcia.

Supporters said the portion of the bill that allows for charter schools to set up near struggling traditional schools will give students more choices, and the bill will give teachers more money through bonuses.

Most of the protest took aim at the governor, whose decision could impact Florida's education system for years to come