Charter School System Amendment Advances

The constitutional amendment to create a state charter school system passed the House K-12 subcommittee this morning.  We really do not want this.  Contact your legislators.  It would take a 60% vote in the Florida House and Senate to put it on the November ballot.

State of Florida Independent Charter Authorizing constitutional amendment to be put before the voters November 2016.
Parents, Teachers, Principals, and Non-Profit Governing Board Members,
The House K-12 Subcommittee met this morning to discuss House Joint Resolution (HJR) 0759. The resolution proposes amendment to State Constitution to require SBE to establish statewide system for approval of charter schools.
Our Director of Government Relations, Ralph Arza, was present to support the bill. HJR passed its first hurdle. There is still a battle ahead before this House Joint Resolution passes  and goes before voters. We will keep you abreast with the latest updates. The vote was as follows:
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Education Lawsuit Nears Trial

news-426892_1280The lead article in today’s Gainesville Sun features the Citizen’s for Strong Schools lawsuit coming to trial in March.  The story reports on the 5forChange meetings that are being organized at schools around the county to help raise funds.  Two local citizens organized this effort.  I hope other counties take up the effort and spread the word.

Read the article.  Spread the word.  The time is now to force a better future for our children.

OPPOSE Constitutional Change for Charter System

Legislation

Legislation

HJR 759 would change the constitution to allow the Department of Education to establish a statewide system for approving charter schools.  Currently, school districts authorize charter schools and the State Board of Education can over rule school board decisions.

The constitution requires a unified system of public schools.  This amendment would lead to separate systems which then are subject to different funding streams and laws.  It takes away control from local school boards.

WE MUST OPPOSE THIS BILL VIGOROUSLY.  IT IS FILED BY MANNY DIAZ FROM MIAMI.

 

 

LWV New Mexico Proposes Charter School Study

by Meredith Machen

bisti-939735_1280League of Women Voters of New Mexico Study

Charter School Regulations: Public School Funding, Accountability, and Transparency

Scope of Study: In the context of the growing emphasis of some governmental policy-makers on promoting charter schools, this study will review information regarding the regulations and policies from which charter schools are released to determine if the exemptions from regulations may impede the progress of traditional public schools and the sufficiency of funding for public schools.

Because charter schools are publicly funded, the study raises the question of whether they should be held to standards of accountability and transparency that are at least as rigorous as those of traditional public schools. The study will also examine the need for changes in charter school regulations regarding their missions (which now allow adults to get their high school credentials, have specialized curricula, and alternative assessments), their governing bodies (which are not publicly elected or complying with the Open Meetings Act), their  operations (which are not publicly audited), and rules for authorization and reauthorization.

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Making a Difference: We Are and You Can Too

by Richard McNeill

boy-717151_1920When you think the education scene is depressing, do something!  This is what we are doing in Alachua County to spread the word as the Citizens for Strong Schools lawsuit nears.  A mom and a grandfather started this.  I just help with background information.  They are working through the parent organizations to spread hope that it is possible to make a difference.    This is Richard’s announcement to the Alachua County School Board this week.  Read how they are going about their project.  You can help.

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New Mexico LWV Urges Moratorium on Charters

by Meredith Machen

New MexicoThe President of the New Mexico League of Women Voters calls for a moratorium on new charter schools.  She cites the Center for Public Education:  “46 State Education Agencies are cutting back on charter school funding because of their fiscal difficulties, the challenges of delivering adequate special education services, and the lack of staff available to provide proper oversight. We hope that NM will follow suit and impose a moratorium until the data demonstrates the need.”

Meredith supports her position with data.

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Paramount Duty: Who Pays?

justiceThe state has a paramount duty to provide all students with a uniform, safe, efficient, and high quality education, according to the Florida constitution. The State Board of Education’s new budget adds $476 million increase to education funding.

It would seem to be a step in the right direction in meeting the constitutional mandate.  Based on a Washington state Supreme Court decision, it may be that Florida is actually skirting its obligation to students.

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Tennessee: When is Enough, Enough?

by Anne-Marie Farmer

dollar-726881_1280Receiving this post from Anne-Marie is pure serendipity.  I spent several hours looking for examples of how states determine how much funding is needed to provide a high quality education for all students.  High quality education is mandated in Florida’s constitution. What does it mean?  How is it funded?  When is enough, enough?  The State is in a lawsuit about this.

Then, this post arrived from Tennessee.

Tennessee appears to have approached funding for education differently than Florida.  Our state seems to decide how much it is going to spend and then divides the money among districts using a per student funding formula.  Tennessee uses a  complicated system of 45 components to determine what education should cost.   Afterwards, they do a budget.  Sometimes what should be and what is do not match.

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