Gradebook

Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Charter school rule

19

September

It seemed like a simple enough endeavor. Forty Florida school districts wanted exclusive rule over charter school operations in their counties. State law allowed it. And the State Board of Education stood ready to act on the requests.

Then came the public.

Who knew they cared so passionately about the issue?

Charter school proponents and operators urged the board to hold off, saying school districts don't treat them fairly now. District officials, including Hillsborough superintendent MaryEllen Elia, pressed the counties' position, saying they want to maintain that so-called even playing field when it comes to the privately run yet publicly funded schools.

State Reps. Trey Traviesa of Tampa and John Legg of New Port Richey, who wrote the law, meanwhile suggested that the board wait a year before granting exclusivity to districts. The Florida Schools of Excellence Commission, which has yet to get up and running, should have a chance to issue charters at the state level and see if that system works first, they posited.

The discussion took hours.

Faced with such commentary and criticism, the board decided not to decide. It tabled the discussion until October when, perhaps, it will take action without having to listen to everyone again. To see a backgrounder on the issue, as prepared by the department, click here.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:23am]

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