A new legislative proposal could revive a long-simmering and often-distorted debate over how Florida funds charter school facilities.
If the Legislature doesn’t provide enough annual funding to cover that amount, most charters would receive a share of their local school district’s property tax revenue to make up the difference.
Right now, charter schools rely on annual appropriations from the state budget to pay for facilities and other capital costs. The funding has dwindled over time, even as the number of charter schools in the state has increased.
During the 2011-12 school year, 372 charter schools split $55.2 million in capital outlay funding. This year, 535 schools are splitting an even $50 million. The resulting erosion has put pressure on schools trying to make lease payments or keep up with mortgages, prompting some charter advocates to warn the situation has reached a “desperate point.”
The revised bill, set to be taken up later this week by the House Appropriations Committee, would set a funding benchmark equal to one-fortieth of the estimated per-student cost of school construction. Continue Reading →