School Repair Money

Tallahassee- Critics believe this money isn't nearly enough to meet years of neglect.

Leaky roofs, faulty air conditioners and chipped paint have gone unattended in schools across the state. Maintenance was one of the first things to go during the recession.

Over the last three budgets, public schools got nothing for repairs.

Over the same time, charter schools got 90 million in the current budget. They'll share 75 million in the coming year.

Starting in July, public schools will see the first state money in at least four years for maintenance.

Still advocates say charters still reign supreme in funding.

"Rather than invest in public schools, Rick Scott and his allies are directing tens of millions of dollars to charter schools just interested in making a buck off of your child," Rep. Alan Williams, (D) Tallahassee, said.

Lawmakers defend giving charter schools maintenance money but not public schools because they say public school boards can levy up to a mill and half for school repairs, and the charter schools can't.

Kindergarten teacher Shari Genwater said her district has been good about maintenance but, "We still have teachers teaching in portables...we have air conditioning and filtration systems that are not up to par where they should be."

The Department of Education was unable to provide a needs assessment for maintenance statewide, saying local districts know best.

The Florida Republican Party criticized Representative Williams, saying if the budget was so bad, he shouldn't have voted for it.

Williams countered saying the good outweighed the bad.


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