Florida’s charter schools would have financial incentives to serve low-income and special needs students, and be barred from using state facilities funding for “private enrichment,” under a proposal approved this week by a state Senate panel.
The Senate’s plan, which won praise on both sides of the aisle, was unveiled Thursday after the state House of Representatives spent days debating school construction and charter school funding.
The proposal (starting on page 196) wouldn’t necessarily steer more money to charter schools, or change the rules deciding which schools qualify for facilities funding. But it would change the formula for parceling out the money, and place new restrictions on charters that lease private land.
Right now, charter school capital outlay funding is distributed based on factors like when schools opened and whether they qualified for funding in the past.
The Senate has proposed scrapping that formula. Under its plan, all charters that qualify for state capital outlay funding (right now, that’s about 535 of the state’s more than 650 charters) would receive a base amount of facilities funding.
They would receive extra funding if more than 75 percent of their students qualified for free and reduced-priced lunches, or if more than 25 percent of their students qualified for special education services. Those that met both standards would receive double weight. Continue Reading →