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The founder of a company that operated charter schools in several Florida counties was found guilty of using those schools to steer millions of dollars into his personal accounts.

The nonpartisan research group Integrity Florida has released a new study about Florida’s charter schools and the industry’s political influence. The study took nearly a year to complete, and takes a deep dive into how the charter model became what it is today.

A controversial education amendment will not go to voters in November.

In a 4-3 decision, Florida's Supreme Court has ruled that Amendment 8 should remain off the ballot.

The court upheld the order of a Leon County Judge who decreed the measure's title and summary to be misleading.

A long-running lawsuit over whether the state is properly funding its public schools is now before the Florida Supreme Court.  Oral arguments have been scheduled for November 8th.

The League of Women Voters of Florida wants a constitutional amendment it says is misleading removed from the November ballot. The target is Amendment Eight which critics say could lead to the creation of more charter schools.

The League’s Attorney Rom Meyer says the ballot summary of Amendment Eight is vague and doesn’t tell voters the main purpose of the proposal.

Four key Constitution Revision Commission proposals that could impact K-12 education are a step closer to being in front of voters in November.

State Seeks Dismissal of Challenge To Education Law

Nov 24, 2017

The Florida Department of Education this week asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a controversial law that is expected to boost charter schools.

The chair of Miami-Dade County’s school board wants to set a deadline for the district to decide whether to join a  legal challenge against a controversial new charter school law.

Richard Spencer shakes things up in Gainesville, Florida’s traditional public schools push back against a charter school law and Obamacare insurance subsidies may live to see another day. This week on Florida Matters we’re hosting another edition of our monthly news roundtable.


V@s (Wikimedia Commons)

This week on Florida Matters we're hosting another edition of our monthly news roundtable. One topic that was all over the news this past week was white nationalist Richard Spencer's visit to the University of Florida.


Broward County and a dozen other school districts filed a much-anticipated lawsuit targeting House Bill 7069 on Monday.

A sweeping and contentious education measure may be on its way to court, but a Democratic Senator wants to double down on what he sees as good provisions in the bill.

The Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to hear a case that challenged the constitutionality of a law that gives power to the State Board of Education in the approval of charter schools.

Justices turned down an appeal by the Palm Beach County School Board, which argued the law violates part of the state Constitution that gives local school boards the authority to “operate, control and supervise” public schools in their districts. As is common, the Supreme Court issued a one-page order that did not explain its reasons for declining to hear the case.

As Hurricane Irma bore down on South Florida, Kevin Youngman and his family sought shelter at Falcon Cove Middle School in Weston. There, he found himself in enemy territory.

“I think it’s weird for us because we all went to the rival middle school, Tequesta Trace,” said Youngman, 25, as he relaxed on an air mattress in the school gym.

Two more school districts have joined a lawsuit that challenges parts of a controversial state education law.


The School Board of Miami-Dade County voted on Wednesday to authorize legal action to challenge the controversial House Bill 7069, signed by Gov. Rick Scott in June. 

"The word that comes to mind is courage," said Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall during discussion. "We've got to have the courage to do what is right."

Judge Sides With State On Charter School Standards

Jul 24, 2017

Rejecting arguments of charter schools, an administrative law judge Friday upheld a plan that would make charter schools ineligible for state construction and facilities money if they have “D” performance grades in two consecutive years.

Office of the Governor

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a day after insisting he still hadn't made up his mind, signed a sweeping education bill into law Thursday that steers more public money to privately run charter schools.

School officials and teachers unions across the state have expressed outrage over a comprehensive education bill passed by the Florida legislature, and are calling for a veto from Gov. Rick Scott. Their objections stem -- in part -- from a requirement that public schools share local taxpayer revenue with charter schools for capital projects.

Pixabay.com

Recess has returned, but not for charter schools, and state testing will be limited to two weeks. Those are just two of the proposals lawmakers crammed into an education bill that capped off the end of the legislative session.

Charter School Lobbyist: Education Bill Could End Up In Court

May 11, 2017

There are growing demands for Governor Rick Scott to veto both the state budget, and a controversial education companion measure that critics say goes too far.  House Bill 7069 covers everything from charter schools to testing to sunscreen.

Wikipedia Commons

The Florida legislature is poised to pass a program that would encourage charter schools to set up near academically troubled traditional schools. The bill creates what Republicans call the “Schools of Hope” program, funneling hundreds of millions of dollars toward charter schools.

Florida lawmakers appear to be moving forward with a House priority bill boosting funding to charter schools that set up near chronically failing public schools. The measure, dubbed schools of hope, is a priority of House Speaker Richard Corcoran but its final form is still being debated.

The state Senate is considering a $200 million program passed by the House that would speed up the process for closing underperforming public schools and funding charter schools in their place.

Florida House of Representatives

The Florida House is signing off on an ambitious $200 million plan to shift students from chronically failing schools to charter schools run by private organizations.

The Florida House will vote this week to establish what members call “schools of hope.” Democratic lawmakers say Republicans want to spend more than a billion dollars over several years on charter schools while starving public schools of funding. But Republican lawmakers and charter advocates argue public schools are failing to educate students.

There’s renewed interest in requiring public school districts to share a portion of their locally generated school maintenance funds with charter schools. It’s an argument that’s been around for years and some lawmakers are worried about what that means for the state’s traditional schools.

Creative Commons

Beginning this fall, Florida students can go to any public school in the state. Seen as a victory for proponents of school choice, the new law was signed by Gov. Rick Scott last year. It allows students to cross county borders as long as a school has room, and parents provide their own transportation. 

We're all familiar with the term "hidden in plain sight." Well, there may be no better way to describe the nation's 6,900 charter schools.

These publicly-funded, privately-run schools have been around since the first one opened in St. Paul, Minn., in 1992. Today, they enroll about 3.1 million students in 43 states, so you'd think Americans should know quite a bit about them by now. But you'd be wrong.

Cathy Carter

Florida's first charter school opened 20 years ago.  Since then, enrollment in these publicly funded, privately run schools has exploded. 

Today, more than 250,000 students attend about 650 charter schools across the state and many of them are returning to school this week.

But the rapid growth has come with more than a few speed bumps.

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