April 11, 2003
Source: The Office of Senate President Jim King
Senate President Jim King today announced the creation of a task force to examine the accountability of the McKay Scholarship Program. The members of the task force include former Senate President John McKay, who will chair the task force, and Senator Lee Constantine, Senator Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Dr. Zelda Carner, Ms. Brenda Dickinson, Dr. Lois Gerber, Ms. Marion Hammer, Dr. Patricia Hardman, Ph.D., Mr. Larry Keough, Mr. John Kirtley, Mr. Barry Richard, Esquire, Mrs. Betsy Stone, Ms. Debbie Tanguay, and Dr. Alex Penn Williams, who will all sit on the task force.
"A few of the private schools accepting McKay Scholarship students have experienced significant financial problems that have caused the schools to engage in some questionable business practices. Extensive media criticism of these practices have raised questions regarding the entire McKay Scholarship Program and I feel that it is important for us to look into this problem so that it does not negatively affect any of the current or future scholarship recipients," explained Senate President Jim King.
The task force will develop recommendations for a business and operational accountability system intended to provide assurances that the McKay Scholarship Program is operating responsibly and that participating schools are exercising good stewardship of public funds. Some of the accountability topics to be discussed by task force members include annual demonstration of fiscal solvency by participating schools, instructional personnel certified in appropriate fields, the regulatory role of the Department of Education Sanctions and an appeal process for any schools that may be sanctioned.
Members of the task force were selected by President King based on their involvement with education and the McKay Scholarship Program. A complete listing of the members is attached.
The task force will have its first meeting today, April 11th at 1:00 p.m. in room 37 of the Senate Office Building .
McKay Scholarship Task Force
Senator John McKay, Chair
Dr. Zelda Carner
Florida Association of Independent Special Education Facilities
Senator Lee Constantine, District 22
Chair, Senate Education Committee
Ms. Brenda Dickinson
Legislative Director, Florida Association of Non-Public Schools
Dr. Lois Gerber
Director, Bradenton Academy
Ms. Marion Hammer
Grandmother of a McKay Scholarship Recipient
Dr. Patricia Hardman
Director, Dyslexia Research Institute
Mr. Larry Keough
Florida Catholic Conference
Mr. John Kirtley
President, Childrens First America
President, Committee for Education Freedom, Inc.
Mr. Barry Richard
Greenberg, Traurig Law Firm
Mrs. Betsy Stone
Parent of McKay Scholarship Recipient
Ms. Debbie Tanguay
McKay Scholarship Coordinator, Palm Beach County Schools
Senator Debbie Wasserman Shultz, District 34
Committee Member, Senate Subcommittee on Education Appropriations
Dr. Alex Penn Williams
Executive Director, Independent Education, Department of Education