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North Florida Lawmakers Hear From Citizens

Blaise Gainey

North Florida lawmakers sat through 3.5 hours of public testimony at Monday night’s Leon county delegation meeting. The subjects bounced from education, criminal justice reform, and a pay raise for state workers.

County School Superintendent Rocky Hanna told the delegation that public schools are sometimes forced to cut programs in order to split money between public and charter schools.  

"People that have private education initiatives as well intended as they may be, should not be funded with public tax payer dollars. There are a lot of good innovative things that folks are coming up with," Hanna continued saying that "if we start opening up schools on every street corner, then we slowly start draining resources away from our traditional public schools and then have to start looking into cutting programs.”

And recently elected School Board Member Darryl Jones believes not enough is being invested in early childhood education.

“Regrettably far too many privately-owned early learning centers are just baby-sitting services so subsequently the opportunity to provide those types of stimuli that prepare a child for public school education are missing,” said Jones.

After hearing all testimony Tallahassee Democratic Representative Ramon Alexander says, “I think we have a responsibility of protecting public education, we have a responsibility in putting more teeth to criminal justice reform, we have a responsibility to our state workers, the basic quality of life issues, our environment. So I’m looking forward to continue to articulate that mission articulate the values and perspectives of Floridians. That they’re not asking for anything out of the norm, they’re just asking for basic respect and dignity so that they can live their lives in the state of Florida.”

The 2019 legislative session starts March 5th.

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.