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Senate kills parent trigger bill

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Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Ft. Myers, center, is consoled by Senator Garrett Richter, R- Naples, right, after her trigger bill lost on a 20-20 vote, Friday. Senator Maria Lorts Sachs, D- Delray Beach, left, looks on. [Scott Keeler, Times]

The controversial parent trigger bill has died in a 20-20 vote in the Florida Senate.

The bill would have allowed parents at low-performing schools to choose a turnaround strategy for the school. One option: petition to have the school converted into a charter school.

Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Ft. Myers, said she filed the bill to make sure children at low-performing schools didn't have to continue "taking one for the team."

But opponents said the proposal is intended to line the pockets of for-profit charter-school companies, which would have access to new business. 

Said Sen. Nan Rich: "The centerpiece of this legislation has nothing to do with empowering parents or giving children and parents options, or improving schools. We do all of that already. It has everything to do with laying the groundwork for the hostile corporate takeover of public schools across Florida – an attack on public education."

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Senator Arthenia L. Joyner, D-Tampa, blasts Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Ft. Myers, left, trigger bill, Friday, on the floor of the Florida Senate. The bill failed on a 20-20 vote. [Scott Keeler, Times]

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Senators Maria Lorts Sachs, D- Delray Beach, and Evelyn Lynn, R- Ormond Beach, hug after the trigger bill failed in the Senate, Friday. Both voted against the bill. [Scott Keeler, Times]

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