Orange, Seminole counties call on governor to veto education bill

Orange and Seminole counties joined a growing list of Florida school districts calling on the governor to veto a controversial education bill.

Representatives of Orange and Seminole counties sent letters to Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday.

Both districts are most concerned about how the bill could affect funding decisions.

Seminole County has fought hard for some of the changes in the bill, but is now calling for its veto.

The district passed a resolution on Wednesday calling on the governor to veto House Bill 7069.

“We hope that our voice is heard loud and clear by the governor,” said Amy Lockhart, the Seminole County School Board chairman.

The district fought hard for fewer tests, paper-based tests and an alternative to the FSA, such as the SAT.

But Lockhart said concerns about changes to funding for low-income students, as well as charter school construction and placing charters near struggling traditional schools, were too much to stomach.

“The negative things that were added at the end are what made it really unpalatable for our district,” she said.

Sen. David Simmons R-Altamonte Springs, described what would happen to the popular measures if the bill is rejected.

“The good parts can be presented and passed,” he said.

Simmons pushed for some of the changes, but now supports a veto. He said too much was packaged into the bill with little time for debate or changes.

“You must have an open, transparent opportunity to discuss matters of such great magnitude as this,” said Simmons.

The House speaker has defended the measure, saying that the ideas were individually introduced throughout the session, including teacher bonuses.

With opposition now including Lake and Orange counties, all eyes are on the governor.

Scott’s office said he’s reviewing the bill. Once he officially receives it, he’ll have 15 days to make a decision.

The School Board Association and the Superintendents Association are calling for a veto.