Florida school wrongly tells students to drop online course or else

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Florida public school students cannot be charged for taking courses. But tell that to Gateway Charter High School in Fort Myers, who sent confusing and misleading letters to students earlier this month, causing panic among parents who were led to believe their child could owe $425 if failing to complete a course at Florida Virtual School.

FLVS employs more than 1,000 teachers and gets paid by the state if students complete their courses. It is unclear why Gateway, operated by Charter Schools USA, would send such a letter which they now state was an “error”.

The letter went on to state that students could drop the FLVS course and instead reenroll in a new online option offered by charter school itself — an option that it seems that many students were compelled to do. FLVS officials say that in the last few weeks nearly 60 students attending Charter Schools USA have dropped courses.  

“As a school district we were just highly concerned for our students that they would be threatened,” said Star Kraschinsky with Florida Virtual School. “There was a lot of confusion and panic.”

Considering Florida’s new requirement for high school students to complete an online course in order to graduate, it is critical that parents and schools understand the law to avoid such confusions in the future.

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.