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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Charter schools proposal heads to Gov. Rick Scott

The House passed SB 1546, the Senate companion on charter schools, by a vote of 87-27 early Wednesday.

The bill eases restrictions for establishing and expanding charter schools by limiting school districts’ power over charters. Charter schools are publicly funded but privately operated.

The measure cleared the Senate last week by a vote of 31-8. Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, said last week he sponsored the bill to give more options to thousands of students on waiting lists for charter schools.

During Wednesday's relatively quick debate on the House floor, Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach, said he does not support giving charter schools so many benefits that "we make them unconstitutional."

"Public schools should be equal to charter schools,' he said.

Rep. Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland, disagreed. "I would tell you that charter schools have a long way to go to get to a level playing field," he said.

The bill now awaits Gov. Rick Scott's signature.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 7:32pm]


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