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Fresen, Superintendents At Odds Over School Construction Costs

Meredith Geddings
Florida House of Representatives

Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, and the Florida Association of District School Superintendents are at odds over whether districts are overspending on school construction.

Last month Fresen presented a report stating school districts have overspent when it comes to school construction. He says districts claim to need construction dollars, when more than a third of projects in the past decade have gone over state spending caps.

“Unemployment is down and wages are low. Construction is down so materials are cheap. All those factors you’d think would be the best years of these cost overruns, are actually the most terrifying," he said at the time.

Orange County Superintendent and FADDS President Barbara Jenkins accuses Fresen of misrepresenting the facts. In a letter sent to Fresen last week, Jenkins says the House analysis doesn’t paint an accurate picture of how schools are constructed and the costs that go into them.

"Florida superintendents have been good stewards of public tax dollars," Jenkins writes. "Any information shared with the public should be complete and accurate."

Fresen dismisses Jenkins' claims, and says he stands by his presentation.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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