Charter school bill gets some teeth
Backers of the bill to expand Florida's charter schools have focused their sights squarely on reluctant school districts.
A new substitute version of SB 1546, due to be discussed Wednesday before the Senate PreK-12 Education Committee, would assess financial penalties on districts that are found to be engaging in a "pattern of unlawfully denying" applications by high-performing charter systems to open up schools in new counties.
Under the proposed law, districts would have little ability to refuse such applications, as long as those charter companies followed the law in setting up previous schools. Districts would also be forced to pay attorneys' fees if their denials of charter applications are reversed on appeal to the state.
As we've reported, Sen. John Thrasher's bill takes a multi-pronged approach to expanding Florida's charter school system beyond the more than 400 already in place. And it appears to chip away at school districts' authority under the state Constitution to control public education within their boundaries, raising potential legal problems.
Check the Gradebook tomorrow afternoon for updates on the hearing; we'll let you know if there are any fireworks.