OCPS's Dick Batchelor

Dick Batchelor

Former Florida Legislator Dick Batchelor is a Notable OCPS Alumnus
Former Florida Legislator Dick Batchelor is a Notable OCPS AlumnusNamed one of “The 50 Most Powerful People” in Central Florida by “Orlando Magazine,” Dick Batchelor is known far and wide in local and state politics. For more than four decades, he has advocated for children’s issues and bolstered the Central Florida economy by billions of dollars.

Born in Fort Bragg, N.C., Batchelor was one of seven children of tenant tobacco farmers. In 1957, his family moved to Orlando, where his father worked in construction and later as a carpenter. After several years of living in low-income housing, his family moved to the Orlo Vista neighborhood.

Batchelor attended and graduated from Evans High School in 1966. Afterward, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served in Vietnam, earning the rank of Corporal. Thanks to the G.I. Bill, he earned degrees from Valencia Community College and the University of Central Florida.

Batchelor ran as a Democrat for Florida’s 43rd district, and in 1974, he was the youngest person elected to the Florida Legislature. He served eight years in the state’s House of Representatives, five of which were in leadership roles.

Following his time in the legislature, he founded a consulting firm, Dick Batchelor Management Group. He is deeply involved in issues dealing with the needs of children and homelessness in Central Florida, and has served on many national and international commissions by presidential appointment. Since 1981, he has served as the honorary chairman of the “Dick Batchelor Run for the Children,” an annual 5-K run that raises funds to treat abused children.

Photos of Dick BatchelorIn 2002, Batchelor founded Change 4 Kids to generate support for a half-penny sales tax to build new schools and renovate older schools in desperate need of repair in Orange County. Six previous referendum attempts had failed, but thanks to Batchelor’s work, the referendum passed with almost 60 percent of the vote. For his efforts, Batchelor was named the 2002 Central Floridian of the Year by the “Orlando Sentinel.”

In 2014, Batchelor once again spearheaded a successful Change 4 Kids campaign to renew the half-penny sales tax for another 10 years. The sales tax will generate $2 billion to replace or refurbish schools, provide important technology upgrades and make a major economic impact on regional construction.

Batchelor was inducted into the Orange County Public Schools Hall of Fame in 2015. He also serves on several boards, including AdventHealth Florida Foundation of Central Florida; Florida Children’s First; the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness; and Orange County Domestic Violence Commission.

A sought-after political analyst, Batchelor is seen and heard weekly on local media outlets providing commentaries on issues of the day.
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