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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Private school kids might get to play public school ball



Football You send your child to a private school. You like the school's academic program, or its religious focus, or some other aspect. What you don't like is that the school doesn't offer the sports program that your child adores. What's a parent to do?

If a bill moving through both the Florida House and Senate keeps gaining support, the answer would be, choose both. HB  1481 and SB 526 would  allow you to keep your football loving son, or weightlifting prodigy daughter, in private school while having him or her play for the local public high school.

Of course, the legislation raises concerns about recruiting violations. Consider, for instance, the fullback who can't pass the FCAT and then moves to a private school that has neither the FCAT nor football. He could return to the field for the team he just left. There's also the question of whether the private school student could use public school choice to transfer to any school in the district for athletics. And another issue is whether public school students could take part in programs that private schools offer but the publics don't.

Members of the House Schools and Learning Council, which approved the measure 14-1 this morning, said such matters could be smoothed out in amendments before the bill gets to the floor. Sponsor Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, said he would work to fine-tune the bill with the Florida High School Athletic Association "so we can limit the abuses but truly let the kids play ball."

Said council chairman Joe Pickens, "It's a wonderful concept, as long as adults don't abuse it."

(Times photo, 2007)

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:37am]


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