Seminole County calls on governor to veto education bill

By Jeff Allen, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 7:03 PM EDT

School board members from school districts across Central Florida – even across the state – are urging the governor to veto an education bill passed by the state legislature. 

  • Seminole County school officials asking Gov. Scott to veto education bill
  • Officials say HB 7069 would reduce funding for their schools
  • Orange County school officials are also asking Scott to veto bill

On Wednesday, the Seminole County School Board and the Orange County School Board both sent letters to Gov. Rick Scott, asking him to veto House Bill 7069.

Lindsay Hudock knows the school her children go to is considered a low-performing school.

“Everyday I drive past three elementary schools have higher grades than the one my kids attend,” said Hudock.

The state gave Midway Elementary School a “D” grade for academic performance.   But Hudock says that grade doesn’t accurately evaluate the education her two children are getting at the performing arts-based magnet school.

“My third grader ran the tech crew for their performance this year,” said Hudock.

“My daughter runs the electronics for their live news broadcast every morning at school.  Those are the opportunities they wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for the additional Title 1 funding that Midway gets because of the magnet program.”

But Seminole County school administrators say House Bill 7069 would reduce funding for schools like Midway Elementary, and redirect it toward charter schools.

“It impacts those in the community that we need to wrap the most services around, and provide the most support to,” said Seminole County School Board Chair Amy Lockhart.

Seminole County school leaders actually pushed for much of what the bill includes – like paper-based standardized tests and a study looking at the use of the SAT & ACT instead of the FSA.  However, school board members say lawmakers added measures into the bill at the last minute that hurt funding.

“The bad outweighs the good, so we’re asking the Governor to veto the entire bill,” said Lockhart.

Hudock says she wants the focus to stay on rebuilding schools, like Midway, that are working to earn a better grade.

“I would not like to see the control of those funds be pulled from our local district, because that’s where you have the intimate knowledge and understanding of what those local schools really need to be better,” said Hudock.

It’s now up to the Scott whether to veto or sign House Bill 7069 into law. 

News 13 reached out to Gov. Scott’s office, but so have not gotten a response.