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Hillsborough's Elia: Military charter school bill is not clear, but should be watched



A legislative bill that encourages military installations to work with the state to open charter schools is vaguely worded, Hillsborough superintendent MaryEllen Elia said Wednesday. “It isn’t a real clear bill,” she said.

But Elia and other district leaders will watch for more precise language as the session continues.

Elia, who opposed plans for a K-8 charter school at MacDill Air Force Base run by the for-profit Charter Schools USA, was responding to amendments that have appeared in two different pieces of legislation so far, one concerning tuition benefits for veterans and the other directing local school districts to create technology plans.

While the measure that passed Tuesday says local school districts will continue to oversee the creation of charter schools, it also encourages collaboration between military bases and the state Board of Education, which is appointed by the governor.

Hillsborough has made numerous offers to improve services for MacDill families, including those who live outside the base, Elia said. In response to the controversy over MacDill Charter Academy, she appointed a task force to enhance those efforts.

That group has met once, Elia said, and will continue. “We will come up with a response to whatever is needed,” she said. “We certainly want to support our military.”


[Last modified: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 2:38pm]


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