Ending Local Control of Schools Continues in Florida

Signs that the end of local board control of schools – and its own finances – continued today when the state board of education overruled Orange and Seminole counties rejection of two charter schools. From Leslie Postal in the Orlando Sentinel:

TALLAHASSEE – Orange and Seminole school districts should be forced to allow two charter schools they turned down, the state Board of Education ruled Tuesday.

The state board sided with a recommendation from the charter school appeal commission that Renaissance Charter out of South Florida be allowed to set up shop next fall in Orange.

But the state board ignored the appeal commission recommendation that it reject the application of Florida Virtual Academy to open charters in Seminole and Duval counties because the proposed schools failed to meet certain standards. Board members said the virtual schools should be given the benefit of the doubt because the state is encouraging a shift to virtual education across Florida.

Seminole Superintendent Bill Vogel said the district immediately would file a court appeal aimed at preventing the charter from opening.

“I am extremely disappointed with the decision,” Vogel said.

Charters are public schools funded by taxpayers, but must follow fewer state rules than traditional schools. While charters operate largely outside control of local school districts, the districts are held responsible for their performance.

State Board Chairman Kathleen Shanahan said she hoped no one would think that in ignoring its appeal commission recommendations the board routinely was siding with charters, a common criticism.

The realities of whom overruled who defies logic. Political appointees from  both the state board and the charter school appeal commission overruled  elected school board members. To think that such a dynamic was set up by other elected officials in the Florida legislature is equally appalling.

The state board’s justification to reject the appeal commission’s recommendation on a Florida Virtual School demonstrated just how conflicted the state board members are in their decision-making. Doing so because “virtual schools should be given the benefit of the doubt because the state is encouraging a shift to virtual education across Florida,” is based on neither merit nor reason. Shanahan’s “hope”  rings hollow and her boards’ decision stinks of pure patronage.



About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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2 Responses to Ending Local Control of Schools Continues in Florida

  1. Tania Clow says:

    n the above article you reference Florida Virtual School (FLVS). Please note, Florida Virtual School is a non-profit, statewide public school serving students in all 67 Florida counties. We are not a charter school nor have we applied for this status. Perhaps you are referring to Florida Virtual Academy owned by the private corporation—K12 Inc.? That is who Leslie Postal mentions in her article that you quoted. Could you please correct this in your article? For more information on Florida Virtual School, please visit our newsroom at flvs.net/news which includes contact information. Thank you.

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