Senate bill would have charter schools follow class-size rules
A bill that begins making its way through the Florida Senate this afternoon would reverse an administrative law judge's recent ruling that the class-size amendment doesn't apply to charter schools.
SB 278 would explicitly require charters to follow the class-size rules and mandate that they receive funding only for the maximum number of students permitted under the guidelines. The legislation also revives many of the accountability measures for charter schools that the Senate attempted to adopt last year.
That effort got sidetracked in a train wreck of education bills, as House and Senate leaders failed to agree on several measures and ultimately killed them all.
This year's attempt to rein in charter schools might face a similar fate.
House education policy chairman John Legg told the Gradebook that the House leadership does not favor the Senate bill because it would make charter schools more regulated than traditional schools at a time when lawmakers are seeking to give schools flexibility. He called the measure "over-regulation in the guise of accountability."
As for the class-size issue, Legg - who runs a Pasco County charter school - noted that charters do not receive Classrooms for Kids money to help pay for space needed to meet the amendment. If the Legislature requires charters to follow the amendment, he said, the upshot could be making charters eligible for the funds, which would cost the state more when it has less.
If anything does come out of Tallahassee on charter schools, it's likely to require some compromise. Stay tuned.