Florida House to School Districts: You Have to Give Your Unused Buildings to Charter Schools – For Free

Small wonder Orlando Sentinel reporter Leslie Postal sounds incredulous over this latest sop to charter school operators:

Florida school districts with empty — or half empty — school buildings would be required to offer those facilities to charter schools at no cost, under a bill a House education subcomittee has proposed.

Districts (and this is the kicker for some local officials) would also have to maintain the facility once the charter was using it “at the same standard and level it would maintain any other district-operated school similar in age and condition.”

The bill is a 36 pager that deals with many aspects of Florida’s charter school law. Overall, it reads as a charter-friendly proposal, though it contains a few items that look to increase charter school accountability.

The facilities suggestion — perhaps a reaction to rezoning efforts and a previous school closing in Seminole County ? – likely will upset local School Boards. While charters are public schools, they are run by private groups (and sometimes private, for-profit companies), so board members likely will question why they’d get rent-free access to a public facility.

The proposed bill says a building that was used in the previous school year as a K-12 school but is now empty “shall be made available for a charter school’s use at no cost.”

That means, it seems, a district couldn’t close a school and then sell the building and property and use the proceeds (taxpayer money, after all) for other district needs.

Districts also would have to offer space to a charter  – also at no cost — in a school that was operating at less than 50 percent capacity.

The bill is to be discussed Wednesday at a meeting of the House education subcommittee on innovation and choice

Who writes this stuff? How any fair-minded legislator can begin to think this is even remotely a good idea is beyond me. Did Postal sniff out the  stealth portion of an otherwise clean piece of legislation? Maybe all that campaign cash Florida’s charters schools have been throwing around is working.


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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6 Responses to Florida House to School Districts: You Have to Give Your Unused Buildings to Charter Schools – For Free

  1. Honestly infuriates me! Why do they think the buildings are below capacity to begin with?

  2. Jupiter Mom says:

    I have nothing against high quality charters. However, it makes educating FL students more expensive. If we are to have charters, we ought to fund them properly. Taking away money from the public schools to fund charters is wrong. It creates an unfair system for the children who are “left behind” in an underfunded school system. Plus, we have to have a way to remedy the problems of charters being temporary. If they cannot be permanent, we should not allow them. Right now, one can open and close all within 1 month. That does not serve our students or our state. I don’t know how this could be remedied but it should be mandatory.

  3. Diane Kepus says:

    Wait a damn minute – the taxpayers of this state paid for those buildings – they can feel you whatever kind of lie they want to – say it’s Federal $$ whatever – but taxpayer money paid for every school building in this state. Just because most of the Florida State legislators owe their lives and wallets to Jeb Bush and his money cronies – does not mean the taxpayers of Florida do!

    What makes this legislature think they have the right to control state items we paid for and give them away for free. I hope the voters in this state remember all the information that is being given to them about Jeb Bush, his cronies, the legislators who now have lap dog licenses.

    Wake up Americans – or are you already settled in and consider yourself a COMMUNIST!

  4. Diane Kepus says:

    Jupiter Mom – you need to have a problem with Charter schools be they high quality or not. Have you done your research and looked into how they are using our children as the road to communism because Charter schools are nothing more than a push by Communist’s to remove taxpayers control over education with the non-elected Charter School boards.

    Look where the money is coming from – look at the involvement of your legislators in Jeb Bush’s lap. Look at all the new businesses that have been created in the name of Charter schools – they get rich while our kids get dumb. You need to do your research! Test scores mean nothing especially in a Charter school.

  5. Susan Hall says:

    And look who has money invested in these private corporations that run some of the charter schools = several of our legislators. We need to vote out these ehthically challenged legislators!!

  6. Rory Robinson says:

    The odor of this proposal is off the charts. I can’t believe this came out of legislative body. These people have gone completely mad with the scent of money. What won’t they do? And to imagine that the Great Governor of Education is behind it all.

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