After Years Of Trying, Charter Schools To Share In Local Dollars For Maintenance, Construction

May 9, 2017

Florida’s public school districts will now have to share a portion of their locally-generated maintenance dollars with charter schools. The plan is part of a massive education budget bill.

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Charter schools have been trying for years to get districts to share some of the locally generated school maintenance money with them. Some districts do, but many don’t. Now the Florida legislature has made the share mandatory.

“And then we’re going to give millage rate money to charter schools? I totally don’t agree with that," said Rep. John Cortes, D-Kissimmee. " In my opinion, this bill would have been better if they left a couple things out, and I will be voting down on this bill.”

Districts would be allowed to set aside a portion of that funding for payments on projects they’ve financed. What’s left over would be divided between the district and their charter with some of the district’s contribution mitigated by state money. 

Leon County School Superintendent Rocky Hanna says he’s unimpressed by the legislature’s moves on education.  Hanna is concerned about a requirement that district’s split a portion of their locally-generated construction and maintenance funding with charter schools.

“All these changes in budget—there’s legislation that talks with moving money away from public schools into charter schools," he said. "They’re also moving capital outlay dollars that will follow students and the student FTE to build charter schools, it’s very concerning.”

There are four charters in Leon and all would be eligible for local maintenance funding under HB 7069.  Hanna  says Leon County Schools will end up losing about $40,000 w despite a per-student spending increase. Yet he says there are some bright spots—more teachers would be eligible for bonuses in the 2018 state budget plan and he’s pleased to see language mandating recess come through.

The measure is part of a massive 278 page bill covering everything from testing, to teacher bonuses to recess.