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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida Senate leaders not keen on House charter school proposal



A Florida House proposal to give privately run charter schools access to unused public school facilities has caused "significant pause" among state senators, who are considering a compromise that wouldn't so directly benefit charter schools only.

Senate Education Committee chairman John Legg tells the Gradebook that, with the support of Senate President Don Gaetz and Democratic vice chairman Sen. Bill Montford, his committee will offer a bill to "elevate the conversation" to include all vacant publicly owned buildings.

The bill would create a mechanism for all governments to identify their unused facilities, hold public hearings on how to use them, create and receive applications from schools, nonprofits and other organizations to operate in them, and so forth.

"We agree if you have a public building sitting there empty, we need to use it," Legg said. "But to say exclusively charters, what if they don't need a charter school? ... This would allow for the local government entity to determine how they want to best use it."

He suggested schools might be the default use, but said the direction would be left to the committee. The goal, though, is to pull the topic of building usage away from the other substantive charter school issues coming before the legislature. The PCB could be out as early as next week. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Friday, March 22, 2013 9:25am]


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