Exclusivity fight payback?
While many school districts are gearing up to fight the State Board of Education's denial of their exclusive right to authorize charter schools, Pinellas superintendent Clayton Wilcox (left) is suggesting his School Board might want to think twice before getting into it.
"The real question is, do we want, even though we made the initial application, do we even want to be the exclusive granter of charter schools in this county?" Wilcox told his board as it discussed the issue Tuesday. "Do we want that, given the rules the DOE is putting on us? A significant number of superintendents don't want to be in this fight. I'm not sure I have an opinion yet."
Board member Jane Gallucci noted that the battle appeared to be one of local control, prompting others to ask Wilcox what his concerns might be. What, they asked, were Wilcox and the other superintendents he alluded to trying to say?
"There is some fear among many of us there will be downstream consequences we haven't fully anticipated related to funding or to our ability to work with the department. None of us feel very confident right now about the situation in Tallahassee," Wilcox responded. He later added: "I don't think anyone can make the case we’re not open to alternatives to the traditional model. The question from my perspective is, do we want to do that regardless of the political landscape?"
What that "political landscape" is has yet to become clear. Any ideas out there?
(For the record, the School Board did decide to reserve its right to appeal the State Board's decision. For more on the topic, click here.)
- Donna Winchester and Jeff Solochek