Entities other than school districts could be allowed to start or sponsor public schools under a proposal making its way through the state Constitution Revision Commission.
Right now, the state constitution gives 67 county-wide school districts near-exclusive authority to operate all free public schools in their geographic areas.
A proposal amended Friday by the commission’s education committee would add a new provision to the state constitution allowing the Legislature to create alternative avenues to establish public schools. The proposal by Erika Donalds, a Collier County School Board member, was initially intended to allow multiple charter school authorizers.
But Patricia Levesque, a longtime education reformer, amended the proposal so it wouldn’t apply only to charters.
“I think we should be thinking in a broader fashion,” she said.
State law already allows the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, Florida Virtual School (which operates like a statewide school district) and lab schools at state universities, Levesque said. She wanted there to be a solid constitutional basis for creating more options like that in the future. Continue Reading →