1. Florida

Florida delays action on standard charter school contracts

Published Oct. 6, 2014

Amid superintendents' concerns, the Florida Board of Education last week put off consideration of a new standard charter school contracts for districts to use when negotiating terms with applicants.

Local officials complained that a state-issued draft would limit their ability to include specific additional agreements or requirements into the language. In many ways, that would contradict the meaning of a contract, in which two sides jointly accept terms, they said.

The board now intends to take up the item in November. Until then, commissioner Pam Stewart told superintendents in an Oct. 3 memo, the Department of Education will continue to accept comments and suggestions.

Stewart also reminded the district leaders that the proposal would not hem them in, but rather establish a starting point for negotiations.

"Please note," she wrote, "districts and charter schools may agree during contract negotiations to amend the standard contract in any way that meets their needs."

Critics have worried, though, that this step could pave the way for lawmakers to restrict districts in their dealings with charters. The Florida House pushed such an effort in the spring, but failed to get its way in the Senate. Look for the topic to return as committees begin meeting again in the winter.