Fix inequitable treatment between charter, traditional schools, Sen. Gainer says
Sen. George Gainer, a Panama City Republican, was expected to oppose HB 7069 in the state Senate's final vote. He spoke against the imbalance of treatment between charter schools and traditional public schools during that debate, and said he wouldn't take much more special favors for charters.
In the end, he backed the bill but said he would take the issue under greater consideration going forward. This week, he told MaryEllen Klas of the Times-Herald Tallahassee bureau that without fixes, problems lie ahead:
Gainer said he remains "very much a fan of the governor," however, he adds to Kelley's warning that that if lawmakers don't return next session to fix the inequitable treatment between charter and traditional schools "we're all in trouble."
He said his reluctant vote for HB 7069 "is not a vote I'm proud of...They gave the charter schools more than they should have. The bill was a take-it or leave-it deal. It came like a thunder-cloud, then lightening struck, and it was over."
Gainer also has regrets.
"Some of us really felt like this was not going to get past the governor,'' he said. "I thought he would veto it and we would get another crack at it. We will never let that happen again."
Gainer believes that Scott and legislators must end the inequities in the new law: "increase the accountability on charter schools...make sure that charter schools aren't used to make public schools fall behind..don't make public schools take everybody while charters schools don't."
"It's not just a problem for us in Northwest Florida,'' he warned. "It's a problem for the whole state."