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School funding, local rule debate highlight Leon delegation public input meeting

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 10:44 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The start of the 2022 Florida legislative session is still several months away, but the Leon County delegation is already forming priorities for what should be a busy start to the year.

Monday night, the four lawmakers hosted their annual public input session, giving constituents a chance to speak their mind.

The meeting featured many of the same issues popping up across the community, setting the stage for what will be a closely watched legislative session next January.

Before the meeting, the Leon County Classroom Teachers Association held a rally, asking as they often do for more funding spent on public schools.

“This is what the government in that building is supposed to be doing,” yelled LCTA president Scott Mazur.

Once inside, Mazur had the chance to address the lawmakers directly.

“Push us to a point where we are at least at the average, the average is about three thousand dollars per student away from where we are,” Mazur said.

A big question centers around when federally designated dollars for Florida schools will reach districts.

Senator Loranne Ausley said the state has held up funds without explaining why.

“I’m going to do everything in my power as a Senator to make sure that we at the Senate appropriations level are asking questions to get it out the door without strings,” she said.

The local rule debate was a recurring theme at the meeting. Leon County School Board Member Darryl Jones shared his district’s battles.

Rep. Ramon Alexander criticized the state’s stance.

“I truly believe this precedent that has been established is a true threat to our democracy,” Alexander said.

Rep. Jason Shoaf, the lone Republican in the delegation, said everyone needs to follow the law.

“I think it’s reckless for local leaders to set examples like this,” Rep. Shoaf said. “I think it’s time we conquered fear and come together as Floridians to beat covid.”

Another local rule point of contention is the battle at the ballot box.

“I call this the slap in the face,” said Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley. He spoke candidly Monday night about legislation passed this year.

“That $25,000 fine for an unsupervised drop box, that’s a big problem,” he said.

The three hour meeting covered just a small range of topics, with now under three months until it’s go time in Tallahassee.

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