Stealth Florida Charter School Ammendment Cuts Out Local School Board Control

The zealots who carry the water for Florida’s for-profit charter schools never met an unseemly expansion of charter schools they didn’t like. Just remember their efforts the past two sessions to pass parent trigger legislation. One of this year’s payoffs to the charter school industry is slipped into “military-friendly” Florida GI Bill. Writes News Service of Florida reporter Jim Turner for the Lakeland Ledger:

Among the differences, the House proposal would create a nonprofit organization to promote Florida a veteran-friendly state. The charter school issue, also included in the House version, shouldn’t hinder the Senate bill’s advancement.

“Our staffs have been working very closely, I think we’re going to come together quickly,” Altman said after the meeting.

Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, expressed concern that an amendment added to the Senate bill on Thursday could force the Hillsborough County School District to become responsible for a charter school at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa that the school board rejected in December.

The amendment encourages “military installation commanders to work with the state commissioner of education to increase military-family student achievement, which may include the establishment of charter schools on military bases.” The amendment also requires school districts to operate and maintain control over the schools.

In rejecting the MacDill charter school, the Hillsborough School District board questioned who would be in charge of the school that would be run by Charter Schools USA.

Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, who sponsored the amendment, said the language wouldn’t impact the MacDill situation. Instead, the amendment “encourages MacDill to work with the school districts as they establish a charter school which has those students on the military base,” Richter claimed. “It does not address or attempt to address the process for appeal or anything of that nature.”

“My interest is that they’ve already denied the application and it’s in appeal, and that this could supersede that,” Joyner said

Encourage? Rubbish. Senator Richter knows his amendment cuts out local district school boards. See embolden test.

a) The Legislature finds that military families face
unique challenges due to the highly mobile nature of military
service. Among the many challenges that military families face
is providing a high-quality education for their children without
disruption. The state has a compelling interest in assisting the
development and enhancement of learning opportunities for
military children and addressing their unique needs.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that a framework be
established to address the needs of military children who, along with their families, face unique challenges due to the highly mobile nature of military service. In establishing this
framework, military installation commanders are encouraged to collaboratively work with the Commissioner of Education to  increase military family student achievement, which may include
   the establishment of charter schools on military installations. Although the State Board of Education, through the Commissioner of Education, shall supervise this collaboration, the applicable
  school district shall operate and maintain control over any
   school that is established on the military installation.

We’re reading a lot of soaring rhetoric about what Charter Schools USA will be doing at MacDill that apparently the award-winning school that already serves MacDill kids isn’t doing. Maybe this is why Charter Schools USA pulled their MacDill appeal last week. They know one of their legislative handmaidens would cut local school board oversight out of the equation.





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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