The Florida House approved a bill today that would ease contract negotiations between charter schools and school districts, but its fate is still uncertain.
The 68-50 vote fell largely along party lines, though five Republicans also opposed the measure, which would require school districts to resolve key points of contention with charter schools during the application process.
Charter school advocates say the bill would help ensure schools can open once their charter applications are approved. School districts have objected that it would give them less flexibility to negotiate contract terms with charter schools they authorize.
Patricia Levesque, the executive director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future, praised separate provisions that are intended to help high-profile charter school networks expand from outside the state.
“We should be doing what we can to help high-performing Florida charter schools replicate and encourage proven, high-quality out-of-state entities to come to the Sunshine State,” she said in a statement. “For all students, but especially students zoned for low-performing schools, this added access to a quality, customized education can be life-changing.”
Those provisions have been stripped from the Senate bill. The question in the next 10 days is how the competing plans will be resolved.
“We’ve got two weeks left. We’ll see how it goes,” the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, said Monday, according to the Scripps/Tribune capital bureau. “It’s just that time of year. We’re not in the fourth quarter quite yet.”