Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Florida in focus: Study will look at statewide school funding formula that critics say is unfair

By Watchdog News - August 08, 2017 at 07:26AM

Orlando Sentinel: Study will look at statewide school funding formula that critics say is unfair

A study will go forward on the state’s redistribution of money from poorer to wealthier school districts in a funding formula a Volusia County critic called “backwards Robin Hood.”

The formula has cost Seminole, Osceola and Lake schools tens of millions in local tax revenue being redirected to more affluent districts, including Orange and Miami-Dade. In the latest fiscal year, 55 school districts sent a portion of their money to just a dozen other districts that have higher costs of living, which drives up the cost of education.

“We need to look at a holistic approach because education is a statewide duty,” state Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, said Monday. Hukill requested an evaluation last month in conjunction with Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton.

The study of the “district cost differential” formula — green-lighted by Senate President Joe Negron last week — will be conducted by two legislative research divisions that Hukill said are well-regarded and she hopes to be “complete before we go into session” Jan. 9.

Miami Herald: Miami-Dade complied with Trump to change its ‘sanctuary’ status. It worked

For the first time since it began extending the detentions of local inmates sought for deportation, Miami-Dade County received word from Washington that it won’t be treated as a community giving “sanctuary” to immigration violators.

An Aug. 4 letter to Mayor Carlos Gimenez from the Justice Department said “there was no evidence” Miami-Dade was out of compliance with an immigration provision of a federal police grant worth about $480,000 this year to the county.

Shortly after President Donald Trump took office promising an immigration crackdown, Gimenez reversed a 2013 county policy and ordered Miami-Dade jails to begin honoring requests by immigration officers to extend the detentions of people in local custody who are also being sought for possible deportation.

Miami-Dade is the only large jurisdiction known to have made that kind of change, which the County Commission endorsed in February. As a result, it has been assumed Miami-Dade would be shielded from any loss of federal funds the Trump administration engineered as part of a broader effort to punish communities not cooperating on immigration detentions.

Sun Sentinel: Ex-lawmaker asks judge to toss fraud verdict

Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown has asked a federal judge to reverse the verdict of a jury who found her guilty of using funds from a purported children’s educational charity as a personal slush fund.

Brown was convicted of taking money raised for the One Door for Education Foundation and lying on her taxes and congressional financial disclosure forms.

According to news reports, Brown’s attorneys argued in federal court on Monday that the judge erred by removing a juror who said he received guidance about Brown’s innocence from what he described as “the holy spirit.”

Prosecutors have said the judge had no legal choice but to remove the juror.

from Watchdog.org