Jan - Feb 2014  Voter

In This Issue

1 Consensus Meeting
Presidents Message
Charter Schools
6   Presentation to Legislators
7  Membership
8  Picture Gallery
9  Water & Land

10  Contacts











Consensus Meeting
- - - -
Charter School Study

General Membership Meeting
When:    Wednesday Jan 22, 11:30 am

Where:   United Way, US 98, Highland City
Executive Conference Room
south end of bldg.
(bring a bag lunch)

The League of Women Voters of Polk County is having our consensus meeting on the LWV of FL statewide charter schools study consensus statements.
In preparation, your education committee has been researching charter schools since early last summer.  All of the material that we have collected is available at  (Or on the website homepage, look at the list of items on the left-hand side and click on the next to last item “SCHOOL STUDY").  You will get a list of documents available.  Then right-click on the item you are interested in and click â€œOpen New window.”
  1. The first item is a Charter School Glossary of terms that might be useful to you as you read through the other material and the consensus statements.  We can not change the wording of the state consensus statements and so are hoping that this glossary will clarify any questions you might have with the statements.
  2. The second document is a summary of information we have gathered and may be all many of you need for background on charter schools
  3. The third document is a chart of statistics of all the charter schools in Polk County as of the school year of 2011/12.  That is the last year for which all data is available.
  4. The fourth document is a compilation of all the information we gathered from our interviews with Polk Charter Schools.  The interviews were conducted during the fall of 2013.  You will notice that we interviewed all but three of the 26 charter schools that were currently operating in the county.  Those three declined to be interviewed.
  5. Fifth is a list of charter schools in Polk that were but are no longer in operation and why they failed or were dissolved.
  6. Number six is a relevant article on charter schools.  Other organizations who have taken a position on charter schools can be found at the end of document two, the summary of information.  Some of the links may not still be active but you can google the organization and find their positions.
  7. The last item, number seven, is the LWV of FL consensus statements that we will be addressing at the meeting on the 22nd.
The committee felt that the state league’s consensus statements did not cover some of the issues that we found in our research that needed to be addressed.  To that end, we have formulated five statements to offer you for local consensus.   We will take up the local statements after finishing the state items. 

On the whole, the committee found that our local charters were run by dedicated, well-trained, local people who are working in the best interests of their students.  We do not have the problems that some other parts of the state have- nonlocal management companies, under paid and/or unqualified staff, etc.  Local positions would allow us to support the school board in denying charters to such groups, as well as allow us to lobby our legislators to change the laws in order to prohibit such companies from receiving charters.

Won’t you please come to the consensus meeting on Jan 22 and help us make some important decisions for the students of Florida and Polk County?
Nancy Simmons
Education Committee Chair
Our Website
Email Us


Jan 8, Wed, 1:00 pm
LWV Board Meeting
United Way, Highland City (bag lunch)

Jan 20, Monday
Martin Luther King Day

Jan 22, Wed
Education Study Consensus Meeting
* * *

Feb 12, Wed, 12:30 pm
LWV Board Meeting
United Way, Highland
City  (bag lunch) 
Feb 17, Monday
Presidents' Day

Feb 20, Thur, 11:30 am
Hot Topic:  Natural Resources
Speaker: Paula Dockery

Circle B Bar Reserve, Lakeland
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Charter School Committee Pics
The Committee working hard collecting data from all Polk Charter Schools: 

President's Message


Hope everyone had a good holiday and is ready to get involved again in League activities.

We did have a busy November and December.  In November we had a very successful seminar in conjunction with Florida Southern College on Women in Society.  The panel was wonderful.  The audience of about ninety people were completely engaged. It is our hope to make this an annual event.  

Our holiday party in December was enjoyed by all who attended.  Thanks to Paula and Tom Mims for opening their home for the event.

The new year will begin with a consensus meeting on the Charter School study.  Many members have been involved in this study and have worked hard collecting an enormous amount of information for the membership to study and make some decisions about.  Be sure to check out the article above and all of the material on the web.  Then attend the meeting on January 22 @ 11:30am at the United Way building.

Plans are underway for a Natural Resources Hot Topic meeting in February @ Circle B.  Paula Dockery has agreed to be our speaker for the event.


Jean Harden is our newest board member. She comes with great insight and knowledge in the legislative process.  Jean will be following bills for us during the upcoming session.  

It is time for legislative interviews.  If anyone is interested in helping with these, please contact me.

The annual meeting is scheduled for the end of March. If you or anyone you know is interested in a board position or an office, please contact me and I will let the nominating committee know.

Thank you to all board members and other volunteers for making 2013 such a successful year. You have made my job extremely easy.

Sue Schultz, President


Voter Registration Grant

The Polk County League has received a grant from LWVUS in the amount of $500.00 for a project that entails a voter registration drive.

We are to register as many young people and others in the underserved portion of the county.  LWV Polk proposed to do this by involving the colleges and technical schools in the areas, especially the east side of the county.

We will also attempt to work with high school social studies programs and student governments.  Our proposal included producing a video to be used in conjunction with the registration drives.  We will explain the importance of registering and voting in local as well as national elections.  Written materials also need to be produced for use in the schools.

Please contact Ann Weeks, Voter Registration Chair, at or call her at 648-4127 if you are interested in assisting with this project.  Many volunteers will be necessary to complete this project successfully.
League of Women Voters of Polk County Presentation to the Polk County Legislative Delegation
on Dec 16, 2013
 Good afternoon, my name is Sue Schultz , president of the Polk County League of Women Voters.
     Expanding access to Health Care to working poor Floridians is our most important priority for the upcoming session. Florida has so far refused to participate in Medicaid Expansion to those Floridians who fall between 100% and 133% of the poverty guidelines. These people are the working poor. People who work for minimum wage or slightly above, about $32.000 a year for a family of four.
   In the State of Florida up to 25% of the population is uninsured at this time. Some of these people will be able to get insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Those who earn between 133% and 400% of poverty will be eligible for subsidies to help them purchase that insurance. The gap remains for those between 100 and 133% of poverty. They are not eligible for subsidies under the program.
   The federal government is offering the State of Florida 51 Billion Dollars over the next ten years to provide this coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The Senate passed a bill during the last session that provided coverage using private insurance companies and federal dollars. The House refused to take up the bill. We are asking that the house reconsider the bill passed by the Senate. It would provide coverage for about 1 million Floridians whose only access to Health care at this time is the Hospital Emergency Room. This is of course the most expensive way to obtain health care. These people never get preventive care and therefore are much sicker, needing many more services by the time they arrive at the hospital.  The taxpayers of Florida end up paying for that care, through higher insurance premiums for the rest of us.
     The argument that the state cannot afford to expand Medicaid does not ring true. The federal government is funding the program completely for the first three years and then asking the state to pay 10%. That figure will be more than made up in savings at hospitals as well as all of the new jobs that will be created in the health field. We will also have a healthier work force that will be more productive and therefore more able to more fully participate in the economy.
  There are other issues that are important to the League. Adequate funding of public education at all levels is of great importance to us. Ensuring that all citizens have easy access to the right to vote is another priority. To assist in that effort, the Polk County League has received a grant from our National office to facilitate registration of young voters. We are also interested in making sure Florida’s environment is always protected and will work towards the passage of the Land and Legacy amendment.


Submitted by Mary Jo Jarrett

Thanks to the members that have already paid their dues for 2013-14.  Our fiscal year starts April 1 and our dues run with our fiscal year. Individual membership dues are $60 annually.  We also offer the Susan B. Anthony Membership level of $100 which helps support more local activities. One change this year is we have added the Carrie Chapman Catt Membership level of $250.


Individual Member                               $60
    Additional Household Member        $30
College Student                                   $40
Susan B. Anthony Membership          $100
Carrie Chapman Catt Membership     $250

If you have not renewed your membership yet, please submit a check to “LWV of Polk County” and mail the check to:

   LWV of Polk County
   PO Box 934
   Lakeland, FL   33802
   Attention: Vanessa Hammill

Thank you to the following for their support:

Susan B. Anthony Memberships
Suzy Bromwell
Judith Darby
Lisa Parks
Connie Prince
Ruby Stinson
Sheryll Strang
Jessie Thrasher
Ann Weeks
Debra Wright
Carrie Chapman Catt Memberships
Paula Mims
Beverly Sidenstick
Nancy Simmons
Barbara Stampfl
 New Members!

Janet Shearer   -  Lakeland


Shirley Utzman  -  Lakeland


Pat Hall - Lakeland


Kimberley Parker  - Lakeland

Picture Gallery

January Board Meeting 
(l-r)  Jean Harden, Connie Prince, Nancy Simmons, Paula Mims, Sue Schultz,
Judy Walker, Vanessa Hammill, Mary Jo Jarrett

Pictures from November Hot Topic
Lois Cowles Harrison Symposium
Women in Society: From Passion to Action
at Florida Southern College

Photos from December Holiday Party


Status on Constitutional Amendment

As of the first week in January 2014, volunteers and paid petition gatherers had turned in 961,253 signed petitions (goal was 910,000). The law requires 683,149 valid Florida voters’ signatures; so far 623,247 petitions have been validated.  The law requires those signatures to come from 14 congressional districts; so far 10 have been validated.                     We are almost there!

   Click on logo above to view the website.


Sue Schultz, President

Nancy Simmons, Vice President

Paula Mims, VP Programs

Judy Walker, Secretary

Vanessa Hammill, Treasurer

Wanda Howard

Mary Jo Jarrett

Connie Prince

Jean Harden


Off-Board Specialists:

Mary Jo Jarrett, Membership

Judy Walker, Voter Service

Ann Weeks, Voter Service
Voter Registration

Fundraising & Government
Paula McKay Mims

Library, Barbara Stampfl

Speakers Bureau, [OPEN]

Voter Editor / Webmaster
Jerry Weeks

LWV Websites:



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