Florida charter school group challenges new State Board rule on capital funding
Contending the Florida Board of Education overstepped its bounds, the Florida Association of Independent Public Schools had filed an administrative complaint over the board's new rule on charter school capital funding.
The rule bars charter schools that have received two consecutive D grades from the state, or an F grade, from receiving state money for construction, maintenance and related expenses.
Association members criticized the proposal during a March hearing, saying all public schools need to be treated equally. They noted that traditional schools that earn two D's or an F do not lose their funding.
In a complaint submitted Monday, the group raised similar concerns. And it argued that the law is on its side.
"The Proposed Rules represents an invalid exercise of the Division's legislative authority because they impose qualifications that do not exist in the statute and unlawfully narrow the scope of eligibility within F.S. 1013.62," wrote Christopher Norwood, a lawyer and association founder and qualified legal representative.
Norwood further explained in a written statement to media: "We believe that the dollar should always follow the student regardless of the public school choice of parents. Parents at charter schools in poor communities deserve not less money, but more to alleviate the stranglehold poverty exerts on student achievement."
The Florida Legislature has several bills under consideration that could change the capital funding structure for charter schools. None has yet been approved.
NOTE: This post has been updated to reflect that Christopher Norwood is the qualified representative for the Florida Association of Independent Public Schools, and not its lawyer. His affidavit to the Division of Administrative Hearings, which Norwood provided, indicates that he has studied law but has never been a member of any Bar Association.