Friday, August 17, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Pinellas should join charter school lawsuit

Welcome to the fight, Pinellas County. The School Board is poised to follow the recommendation of superintendent Mike Grego and join other districts around the state in a lawsuit challenging a wrongheaded law that further erodes local control of education.

The board is expected to vote on Grego's recommendation Tuesday, and members seem to be prepared to take a stand against Tallahassee's continuing overreach. Among other things, HB 7069 that was signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott this spring would direct more taxpayer money to charter schools for the construction and maintenance of school buildings that do not belong to the district. It also allows charters to open without local approval if nearby schools are underperforming on standardized tests.

While the law would adversely affect the entire state, Pinellas has a particularly good reason for joining the legal fight. The way the new law is written, school districts that have little debt would be forced to turn over a greater portion of money for charter construction. So Pinellas, in effect, would be penalized for having been a good steward of public funds and maintaining a low ratio of debt.

There is strength in numbers, and joining Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Duval, Orange and other large districts in this challenge would benefit the lawsuit both financially and in terms of creating a united front. The inclusion of Pinellas would mean that school boards representing roughly 47 percent of Florida's public school students are ready to do battle with the ideologues in Tallahassee. Pinellas officials should lead the way on Tuesday and hope more school boards follow their example.

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Editorial: Journalists are friends of democracy, not the enemy

Editorial: Journalists are friends of democracy, not the enemy

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Published: 08/15/18
Updated: 08/16/18
Editorial: Habitat for Humanity still has questions to answer about selling mortgages

Editorial: Habitat for Humanity still has questions to answer about selling mortgages

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Published: 08/14/18
Editorial: Vote — or a minority of the electorate will decide your future without you

Editorial: Vote — or a minority of the electorate will decide your future without you

40%of Americans who were eligible to vote for president in 2016 just didn’t bother. That number dwarfs the portion of all eligible voters who cast a ballot for President Donald Trump — 27.6 percent — or, for that matter, Hillary Clinton, 28.8 percent...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: Why stand your ground has to go

Editorial: Why stand your ground has to go

Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe made a reasonable decision to charge Michael Drejka with manslaughter in last month’s deadly Clearwater convenience store parking lot confrontation. The shooting, which erupted over use of a handicap parkin...
Published: 08/13/18
Editorial: Politics aside, arguments are clear for moving appellate court to Tampa

Editorial: Politics aside, arguments are clear for moving appellate court to Tampa

It’s time to re-establish a permanent home for the state appeals court that serves the Tampa Bay region.It makes sense to put it in Tampa, the same as it made sense 30 years ago when the court’s operations began moving piece by piece up Interstate 4 ...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18
Editorial: A big first step toward improving transportation in Hillsborough

Editorial: A big first step toward improving transportation in Hillsborough

The Hillsborough County transit referendum that has made the November ballot is significantly stronger than two efforts that failed to reach the end zone in the past decade. The one-cent sales surtax would generate enough money to meaningfully improv...
Published: 08/09/18
Editorial: Bondi should stop fighting smokable medicial marijuana

Editorial: Bondi should stop fighting smokable medicial marijuana

The fight for medical marijuana in Florida should have ended with the resounding 2016 vote authorizing it in the state Constitution. Instead, the battle for access drags on, with Attorney General Pam Bondi waging the latest round in a lengthy legal b...
Published: 08/07/18
Updated: 08/10/18
Editorial: Warning signs of a mental health crisis in Florida

Editorial: Warning signs of a mental health crisis in Florida

They reach from South Florida to Tampa, from a high school to a college campus, from troubled kids to troubled parents. But there is a common thread connecting these tragedies: Florida has a mental health crisis. Addressing it would require spending ...
Published: 08/07/18
Updated: 08/10/18
Editorial: Time to pursue or sink ferry to MacDill

Editorial: Time to pursue or sink ferry to MacDill

A proposal to use local money to ferry workers to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa always has been a questionable idea. The loss of nearly $5 million in federal money toward the project makes it all the more suspect. It’s time the ferry supporters off...
Published: 08/07/18
Updated: 08/10/18
Blood on the streets of Chicago

Blood on the streets of Chicago

A hot summer weekend, when Chicago should be at its most livable, brings an undercurrent of dread and horror to this city. Summer is block party season, beach season, baseball season. But in some neighborhoods, summer is killing season — when armed g...
Published: 08/07/18
Updated: 08/10/18