Please ask your rep to support SB 584

SB 584: Charter Schools sponsored by Senator Janet Cruz

It was referred to the following committees:  Education; Appropriations Subcommittee on Education; Appropriations.  The companion bill is H 1089.

HB 7069 changed the law so that charter schools get a share of school district construction money. The change means more public money going to charters whose facilities are privately owned.  If those schools close, Robert Avossa points out, the facilities that the charters built, renovated or leased typically remain in private hands.  (ref 6).   This bill SB 584 aims to prevent for-profit companies from profiting in this way.

We have to manage charter schools so that resources are not dissipated through short-term profit-oriented schemes.  Educational needs are expensive, but state resources are limited.  (ref 5)

For years, Florida has had one of the highest annual charter school closure rates in the country, involving schools that were closed after financial and other scandals.  (ref 2)

A 2018 poll by an independent group offered two statements relating to helping children in under-performing schools — invest in public schools or give parents more choice — and asked respondents to pick the one that represented their views. The majority in that poll selected investment in the neighborhood and magnet schools. (ref 3)

Charter schools were originally proposed as teacher-run schools that would use innovative techniques to be shared with traditional schools.  Lax regulation of charter schools has created opportunities for financial mismanagement and criminal corruption. (ref 4) This bill is a welcome addition to the call for transparency in the operation of charter schools.

There have been many news stories about the problems with some charter schools. Protect taxpayer money and pass SB 584. Some charter schools are excellent but some provide taxpayer money to corporations which are not operated in the students’ interests.  Currently, most for-profit firms have shadow boards appointed by the for-profit companies. Their for-profit status allows them to operate out of the public view. (ref 1)

This blog entry was updated 3/14/2019.

Links in case you want to do further reading:

  1. http://lwveducation.com/new-bill-to-ban-for-profit-charter-management-firms/
  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2018/12/18/rest-peace-public-education-florida-newspaper/
  3. https://www.tampabay.com/blogs/2019/02/25/critics-question-value-of-foundations-school-choice-survey/
  4. http://www.integrityflorida.org/the-hidden-costs-of-charter-school-choice-privatizing-public-education-in-florida/
  5. http://files.ctctcdn.com/9e023c2e001/312a667d-ca9e-4dc6-be72-3eb1d9d47c25.pdf
  6.  http://extracredit.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2017/06/15/fla-educators-are-flipping-out-over-hb-7069-heres-what-it-does/

Link to bill: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2019/00584

 

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