Forty school districts asked the State Board to let them have sole authority over charter schools in their counties. Just three prevailed.
Now, if charter school operators wish, they can ask the state-sponsored Florida Schools of Excellence Commission for permission to run the publicly-funded, privately run schools - unless they want to do business in Sarasota, Orange and Polk counties. Those were the three that rated high enough in a state evaluation of services to win the exclusive oversight that so many wanted. To see how each county rated, visit this searchable web site.
The board discussed altering the criteria, which might have meant giving more districts full control. But in the end, only board member Roberto Martinez supported exclusivity for more than the three.
Before you raise the issue, we understand the concerns by some that Florida's constitution allows only the county school districts to operate public schools. But so far, the Florida Schools of Excellence Commission hasn't done anything to be challenged legally. So until someone files that suit, we're going to keep reporting on it as an entity that's currently legal in statute.