The new school district chief in Palm Beach County has had some interesting things to say since he took the job in June, talking about the appeal of charter schools and his desire to expand in-demand choice programs.
More recently, Superintendent Robert Avossa has become the latest Florida district leader to seek greater freedom from state regulations for schools his district runs. As reported by the Palm Beach Post, he told the school board last week that he wants to seek some of the same autonomy available to charter schools.
His district might be in a position to take advantage of an existing, relatively new and so far unused state program intended to give school districts some charter-like flexibility.
The Post reports:
A key state lawmaker expressed skepticism about Avossa’s plan Thursday, saying that state law already permits school systems to get around many regulations by declaring certain schools “schools of innovation.”
“What’s in the existing statute that doesn’t allow you to do those things already?” said state Sen. John Legg, R-Lutz, chairman of the Senate’s education committee and a charter school operator. “When superintendents ask those questions and we probe a little bit, they’re often not asking for what they pretend to be asking for.”
A state law passed in 2013 allows districts to create Innovation Schools of Technology, which share some features with charter schools. Districts have to apply to the state Board of Education to create them, and they have to enter performance contracts. In exchange, the schools can receive exemptions from a host of state education rules and statutes. Continue Reading →