Fasano on the fence on parent trigger
Parents and teachers opposed to the parent trigger bill likely headed to the Florida Senate floor on Tuesday targeted maverick Republican Sen. Mike Fasano as one of a handful of possible "no" swing votes. [UPDATE: The Senate special order calendar committee refused late Monday to add this bill to Tuesday's special order calendar.]
Fasano, R-New Port Richey, told the Gradebook that he can't support the bill as it reads.
"Right now, I think the concept is a very good one," he said. "But I believe there need to be some safeguards put into the bill."
Specifically, Fasano did not like that the parent trigger could put a public school into the hands of a private charter school operator.
"I am hoping there will be amendments to make sure we are not turning over taxpayer paid schools to private corporations," he said. "We should not be turning over our taxpayer paid elementary, middle or high schools to corporations so they can make a profit."
He noted that current statute already allows charter schools to use their state funds to pay themselves rent for their privately owned property, as the Times reported with Imagine schools back in February. Lawmakers should not permit any further erosion of public funding with a bill that would let parents petition to have charter schools take over existing but failing traditional schools, argued Fasano, who also led a charge against privatization of prisons this session.
Other Tampa Bay lawmakers being heavily lobbied as potential opponents to the bill did not respond to e-mails seeking their views on the bill. Some area Republicans, including Sen. Paula Dockery of Lakeland and Sen. Evelyn Lynn of Ormond Beach, already have announced their opposition to the measure.
The Senate floor session is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Watch it here.