Gov. Rick Scott signed a controversial education bill that will direct millions to private charter school operators moves forward his promise to expand school choice options.
In a statement about signing the bill June 15 at Morning Star Catholic School in Orlando, Scott wrote that the legislation "continues the governor's commitment to supporting school choice for students across the state."
Scott first laid out his promise on his campaign website in 2010:
"I want to offer parents a menu of options for their children, including but not limited to charter schools, private schools, homeschooling and virtual schools. I want to create an educational program that will allow parents to get creative in how to meet the distinctive needs of their children."
In 2011, we gave Scott a Promise Kept after he signed multiple bills that provided more school choice related to boosting charter schools, scholarship programs and virtual learning.
Six years later, Scott's promise received extra attention during the state legislative session when lawmakers passed HB 7069, a $419 million K-12 public schools bill. It includes a $140 million "schools of hope" program to subsidize charter schools to set up in mostly low-income areas to compete with struggling traditional public schools.
The legislation makes it easier for privately managed charter schools to expand in Florida and receive more taxpayer funding. While charter school advocates embraced the bill, it was heavily criticized by traditional public school advocates including superintendents.
The bill also faced criticism for the behind-the-scenes negotiations. House Speaker Richard Corcoran said on Twitter that it was a myth that Florida's education legislation was "negotiated in secret." We rated his claim False.
Scott has continued to deliver on his promise to expand school choice options for parents. We rate this Promise Kept.