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1st charter school okayed

Two groups, including one started by former GOP gubernatorial candidate Jeb Bush, have won approval of their joint proposal to run a charter school for 60 children starting next month.

The Dade County School Board unanimously approved the contract with Foundation for Florida's Future, which Bush started after his defeat in 1994, and the Urban League of Greater Miami.

The vote Monday gave the groups the distinction of winning final approval to run a charter school in the state before anyone else.

In the spring, lawmakers passed a law to let non-profit private groups run public schools under contract or "charter" with a school board.

Charter schools are free from most laws and rules governing traditional public schools. They must be open to all students.

The Bush-Urban League proposal targets Liberty City, a mostly black neighborhood northwest of Miami.

The groups, which will accept applications for kindergarten through second grade, already have about 50 applications.