Charter school expansion bill passes House Committee

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A bill that would allow high-performing charter schools to more easily expand enrollment, add new grades, and receive a longer 15-year charter was approved by its first committee stop, reports the News Service of Florida. It defines a high-performing charter school as one that has received two A grades in a three-year period. The House K-20 Innovation Subcommittee voted to approve the bill (KINS 11-03) in an 11-3 vote. Democrats questioned the fairness of letting charter schools expand. ?t does concern me that we award a high-performing charter school with a long-term contract but we don? do so for our teachers,?said Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg. Many Democrats, who are typically supporters of a traditional public school system, expressed concern that charter schools would be able to pick and choose their students, thereby tipping the scales in favor of high-performers. Rep. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, an advocate of the proposed committee bill, said charter schools are not allowed to pick and choose students and must admit on a lottery system. Charter schools can kick out students who violate certain agreements signed by them and the parent prior to admittance. The measure also eases the way for approval of new charter schools by requiring a district to have ?lear and convincing evidence?to refuse the application.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.