Newly elected Senator Janet Cruz from Hillsborough has made a statement. She has filed SB 584 to ban for-profit charter school management firms in Florida. California recently passed a similar bill.
SB 584 prohibits for-profit charter management companies from:
- Nomination, appointment, or approval of charter board members
- Employment, dismissal, or approval of employees
- Management of day-to-day operations in the capacity of an administrative manager
- Approval, denial, management of the budget
- Services provided before any board approval is given
- Provision of funding or financing
- Development of the school curriculum
- Lease, sale or purchase of real estate
What this bill does is to give the responsibility of charter school management to their school boards. Currently, most of these for-profit firms have shadow boards appointed by the for-profit companies like CSUSA and Academica. Their for-profit status allows them to operate out of the public view. The revenue the school spends is public, but the difference between the amount of money generated and the amount spent by the for-profit company is not.
This bill is a welcome addition to the call for transparency in the operation of charter schools.