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Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Thu Feb 11th 2010, 12:07 AM
even religious ones. Doesn't appear I have a choice about it. My taxes are paying not only for charter schools in Florida, but now they are adding to the already existing vouchers for private schools.

Florida legislature to consider dramatic expansion of vouchers

They will probably get the expansion through. The media is not covering the use of public money going to private and religious institutions. They are totally silent on the issue.

Mary Lynne Duet teaches a class at Tampa Bay Christian Academy in Tampa. The school has 42 students on tax-credit vouchers, a program lawmakers have proposed expanding

About 25 of the 70 students at Gulf Coast Christian School in St. Petersburg have a big chunk of their tuition paid for by taxpayers, courtesy of a private-school voucher that's worth $3,950.

Plenty of other families want to enroll, but they can't afford the difference between the voucher and tuition, which ranges from $4,650 to $5,500.

"That's a frequent thing people say: 'I can't afford the rest of it,' " said principal Linda Smock.

Some lawmakers want that to change. And soon.

Under a comprehensive bill filed Wednesday — and with fair odds of getting bipartisan support — Florida lawmakers are poised to consider a dramatic expansion of the state's voucher program for low-income students, including upping the voucher's value.

I have heard that argument way too often. It is a misleading one...few families can afford full payment to private schools. It will only allow a few to go.

I don't want my money going to private schools or religious schools. I will be given no choice. My taxes are also going to charter schools which are not regulated and which are run by private companies.

I want my taxes to go for traditional public education. I am not given a choice.

There is not a good track record for many of the schools formed in Florida to get state money. One example is the principal who had once been tried for murder.

Of course no one in authority realized it because there was/is little oversight.

BARTOW -- The private-school principal accused of stealing state voucher money via the now defunct Faith Christian Academy had once been tried for the murder of her husband in Arkansas.
Betty Mae Jives Mitchell, then Betty Clark, and Louise Henry were accused in 1987 of poisoning Mitchell's former husband, Thomas Joseph Clark, with arsenic in Crittenden County, Ark. The trial ended in a hung jury, and the state dropped its case against the pair.

..."The group is accused of bilking the state voucher system, the federal school lunch program and a scholarship funding organization out of about $200,000

Though I firmly believe that public monies should not be benefiting religious institutions, it does not matter what I think.

It has gone so far that many religious schools are deliberately becoming charters to get access to taxpayer money to ease their financial problems

PALMETTO - Starting next school year, the Bibles, crosses and religious pictures will be removed from Palmetto Christian School.

In addition, the school will take on a new name and receive its funding from a new source: Florida taxpayers.

The K-8 school -- operating in the same building with most of the same leadership, staff and students it has now -- will become a charter school that could receive more than $1.7 million in state tax dollars.

The move was unanimously approved by the Manatee County School Board last week, despite contrary advice given by the board's own legal counsel. State law prohibits private schools, that fund themselves, from switching to charter schools that receive state money.

Palmetto Christian joins at least 7 former Catholic schools which are following suit. Public money will rescue their schools while our public schools go wanting for resources. The religious schools becoming charters to get public money apparently will also benefit by deriving income from their properties.

And so, the Archdiocese of Miami will begin its experiment with charter schools this fall. What was intended as a pilot program at one parish – Corpus Christi in Wynwood – will become, for financial reasons, the norm at seven more. Charters also will open in August where five other Catholic schools closed this June: Sacred Heart, Our Lady of Divine Providence in Sweetwater, St. Francis Xavier in Overtown, St. Stephen in Miramar and St. Clement in Fort Lauderdale.

A seventh charter will open at St. Malachy in Tamarac, which opted to close its school before its financial situation deteriorated further. And an eighth charter will open in Miami Gardens, in the building used by St. Monica School until it closed in May 2008.

Charter schools are free, funded by public dollars, so religion cannot be taught during the school day. Unlike traditional public schools, however, charter schools operate independently of the local school board and have more leeway in managing day-to-day operations.

Because the parishes are leasing their former school buildings to the charter schools, they are deriving income from the properties. The amount ranges between $150,000 and $350,000 this first year,
“depending on the size, capacity and condition of the facilities,” according to Fernando Zulueta, president of Academica, a company that provides management and support services for most of the charter schools opening on archdiocesan properties.

Florida and Georgia are trying to increase the vouchers to private schools as quickly as they can. I would imagine other states will be following suit.

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