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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Adkins can't add sharing language to charter school bill -- yet

27

February

This year's big charter school bill sailed through its last House committee Monday.

Rep. Janet Adkins, the sponsor, had submitted a controversial amendment that would have required school districts to share a portion of their maintenance and construction dollars with some charter schools. The catch: the charter schools would have to meet certain academic and financial requirements.

But Adkins withdrew the amendment at the last minute.

Her reasoning: "I felt it was best to pull back when I had language that was better," she said.

Her new language, she said, would allow school districts to take a phased-in approach to sharing the money. That would "help the school districts manage the financial side" of the sharing arrangement, she said.

Any future amendments would have to come on the House Floor.

The charter school bill had the sharing language in its original form.

Adkins said she filed it to address inequities in education funding. Traditional school districts can levy taxes to support construction and maintenance. Charter schools cannot.

But Adkins stripped the sharing provision from the bill before its first committee stop. 

She tried to add it back in the bill's second committee stop, but her amendment failed in a tense 7-7 vote.

Her latest amendment made it so only high-performing, financially sound charter schools would be eligible for the construction money. (An exception would be made for charter schools serving children from failing traditional schools.) She withdrew that suggestion before a vote could be taken.

Adkins said it was too soon to tell which, if any, of the provisions she would incorporate into future amendments. 

The Senate version of the bill must still be heard by the budget committee.

[Last modified: Monday, February 27, 2012 9:45pm]

    

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