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VETO BUDGET & hb 7069

May 17, 2017

PEA has joined with the Polk School District today to ask Governor Scott to veto HB 7069 and the 2017-18 State Budget.


Marianne Capoziello, PEA President, stated “It is disheartening that the Florida Legislature has abandoned its responsibility to ensure that our public school students have the resources they need to be successful learners. In fact, this year legislative leaders budgeted more for private education and corporate, for profit, charter expansion than they provide for an increase to K-12 Public education funding. When all is said and done, our schools will have less per student funding than we did during this school year. That means less for our classrooms and less for the programs our students need.”




She also spoke to the education train bill known as HB 7069 “The massive education bill contains parts of dozens of bills that were filed this session – many were never fully vetted through the committee process. But far worse than the lack of transparency in the process is how they have betrayed parents, teachers and students by cloaking a huge taxpayer funded hand-out to charter corporations with popular provisions, such as reduced testing and daily recess. We have never seen something this disingenuous come out of the legislature before. We call on the Governor to make this right. We stand to ask him to veto these bills and to do right by the students of Polk County and the state of Florida.”


Our teachers deserve more than bogus bonus schemes, our support staff deserve a budget that honors the work they do and not one that puts their vital jobs on the line. Then, most importantly, there is our students- they deserve a budget that funds their schools, one that honors the constitutional requirement of adequate funding for public schools and appropriate class sizes and one that does not divert their money into ill-conceived, poorly monitored, and unaccountable “for profit charters” or drive their teachers from the classroom. We stand here today School Board, Union, Teachers, Support Staff, and citizens and ask Governor Scott to do what is right and veto these pieces of legislation.  



May 15, 2107

We must urge the Governor to veto HB 7069 and SB 2500, the state budget, because of the disastrous impact both would have on Florida’s public schools.


You can contact Governor Scott multiple ways: Phone: (850) 717-9337 from 9am to 5 pm


Or go to the FEA Action Center and scroll to the middle of the article and enter your home address:


Talking points follow: Here are just a few concerns about the state budget:

• Spends just $24.49 more per student – a 0.34% increase

• Reduces the base funding (BSA) for each student by $27.07 (or a -0.65%). In fact the proposed 2017-2018 BSA is lower than the 2007-2008 BSA from a decade ago

• Offers the lowest increase in overall education funding since 2011-2012 – providing just $241.4 million statewide or 1.2%, and;

• Fails to restore per student funding levels seen almost a decade ago. In 2007-2008 per student funding was $7,305. This proposed budget would be less at $7,220.72.

The Governor’s desk is the last stop before the budget takes effect, so contact him today! The budget that the Legislature passed will starve our public schools and shortchange our students and the teachers and school employees struggling to make our schools work.

Everyone — superintendents, school districts, educators and even parents — called on the Legislature to reject this harmful education package. But the Legislature refused. Now we must ask the Governor to take action to protect our schools. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Bargaining Update

The hearing with the Special Magistrate has concluded.  Now we have a waiting period for the parties to submit their briefs.  Once the briefs are submitted the Special Magistrate will issue a ruling.  When that ruling arrives the parties will have 20 days to file exceptions to the ruling. If exceptions are filed, the Polk County School Board will schedule a hearing to receive the positions of the parties and make a final recommendation for Tentative Agreements.  These Tentative Agreements then come to the bargaining unit members for ratification.

We will keep everyone apprised of the status over the summer by website and email.


Friday, March 10, 2017

The Polk Education Association (PEA), American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and the Polk County School Board’s (PCSB) bargaining team met for mediation today. Marianne Capoziello, President of PEA said “the results were supremely disappointing”. The meeting began at 10 am and seven hours later, due to the District’s lack of honest intent, the mediation failed. Health insurance was the topic of the day and it took an inordinate amount of time to discuss issues PEA had brought to the attention of the School Board’s Tallahassee Attorneys weeks ago. “Today was a ridiculous adventure in wasting time. We worked all day and believed we might actually come to agreement on insurance and at the eleventh hour the School Board’s team intentionally through a wrench in the machine,“ said Capoziello.


Capoziello went on to say “of grave concern to the PEA bargaining team was the School Board’s economic offers, that were delivered to the team on a piece of torn legal paper, and labeled ‘non-recurring’. What is being offered is a one-time bonus of $375.00 for teachers and $200.00 for Para educators and ESP’s (secretary/clericals).” Team member were astonished by the lack of respect this offer represents. “Teachers and Support Staff, who are working longer and longer hours with greater responsibility have essentially been offered a 2 cent tip” stated Carolyn Bryant a teacher at Eagle Lake Elem., and a member of the PEA team.


It appears that the whole purpose of today was so the School Board could check a box that they mediated. PEA continues to ask, “Where is the intent to solve the concerns of the teachers and support staff? It is like they believe that teachers and support staff are a dime a dozen, while PEA and Polk’s parents and concerned citizens worry about the ever growing teacher shortage” stated Capoziello. To PEA’s surprise the teams never even met in the same room as the District did not want to have an opening session together. It is still up in the air as to whether there will be an additional mediation session.


PEA bargaining team member, Branden Lane, summed it up best when he asked, “I wonder how much longer teachers and support staff will tolerate the School Board playing these games?”  



January 5, 2017

The Polk County School Board and Superintendent broke faith with its teachers and support staff this past Friday by declaring impasse via phone call at 5:05 pm. We knew, when they brought their Tallahassee hired gun attorneys in at the beginning of this process, they were not looking to solve issues. They brought a 0% salary proposal to the table in October and stated in the Lakeland Ledger we “should counter their offer” of ZERO! Then they delayed getting us the salary data needed to prepare an appropriate proposal. When we counter proposed their ZERO offer they said allow us time to review, so did they return to the table to counter? No, they declared IMPASSE, via phone and a follow up letter with NO COUNTER OFFER GIVEN. Shameful and disrespectful to the teachers and support staff of this county. Your union needs you! Stand with your bargaining team and come to the School Board meeting on January 24th at 5 pm and tell the Polk County School Board to Bargain with Honest Intent! We will begin gathering at 4:30 pm.

More information will be coming as we progress forward.

In Solidarity, Marianne