Watch for more debate over charter schools in 2016
Charter schools continue to blossom in popularity and in number throughout Florida, but the controversy surrounding them isn’t dissipating in 2016 — especially as “school choice” continues to dominate education policy coming out of the state Capitol.
As Republican lawmakers consider plans to make it easier for charter schools to form and also to hold them more accountable so schools are less likely to fail, legislators and education advocates, both for and against charter schools, say a main sticking point in the “school choice” debate this year is how much in taxpayer aid charter schools should get for construction and capital costs.
This year, charter schools and traditional public schools each received about $50 million. But for a few years prior, capital funding for charter schools far exceeded what traditional schools got, which left many traditional schools with minimal resources — if they got any help at all from the state — to renovate withering facilities or pay off debt.
Proponents of charter schools — public schools run by private companies — said it’s only fair that they get at least as much as traditional schools. But school boards and teachers argue the Republican-led Legislature ought to make up for starving traditional schools of needed capital dollars during a time they sought to make charter schools a priority instead.