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Charter School Funding Could Get Big Boost, Support Split Along Party Lines

April 12th, 2017 by Jake Stofan

The Florida House is poised to approve 200 million for new charter schools they are calling Schools of Hope.

The House budget sets aside 200 million for schools of Hope.
Sponsor Chris Latvala calls it an attempt to reach kids in failing schools.
“I had a lucky zip code and so my neighborhood public school was a good one,” said Latvala, “Not every child in Florida has a lucky zip code and there are tens of thousands of students that are stuck in persistently low performing schools.”
But House democrats have take a caucus position against the funding.
They say Charter schools have an unfair advantage over public schools and the additional funding will just widen the gap.
“You have air conditioners that are dripping on students heads in public schools, and then other students get the opportunity to walk into a brand new building? That’s not right,” said House Representative Shervin Jones.
But schools of hope aren’t the only bills seeking to help charter schools.
Tucked away in a massive gaming bill is a one billion dollar appropriation for charters.
Jones calls it unconscionable.
“We are again moving in the wrong direction,” said Jones, “That is not where those dollars should be going. We should be pushing those dollars into the public school system.”
Charter schools may also see some cash from the legislature to help repair facilities.
State Senator David Simmons wants to dedicate a portion of local property tax revenues to charter school repairs.
“We’re dealing with assuring that charter schools are able to have a portion of those monies,” said Simmons.
All of the funding ideas are still weeks away from certainty in the legislative process, but added up, they would give charter schools their best funding ever.
In Florida, 90% of students still receive their education from public schools.

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