Fla. High Impact Charter Network Bill Advances



The devil is often in the details, and this bill HB 830 Stargel has many provisions.   In a nutshell, it requires better background checks and more transparency for charter providers.  This is good, right?  It also gives the State Board of Education the ability to authorize High Impact Charter Networks.  Maybe this is not so good.

Charter providers in approved networks apply to districts, but if they are already authorized, is this simply smoke and mirrors?  In a way, this is a mini version of the bill to amend the constitution to create a separate charter system.  It takes away local control.  The constitutional amendment will not make it to the ballot, but the High Impact Charter Networks are likely to become law.  If I were a betting person, I would think this is another effort to attract and expand KIPP schools.

State Board member, Gary Chartrand, likes KIPP, and he brought them into Jacksonville.  KIPP has strict behavior rules for students and in other states has a record of high student turnover.    Those students who survive may do well academically.  The remainder are sent back to public schools.

Districts will have no real oversight of these networks.  They receive no administrative fees.  Charters  will be eligible for capital outlay funding.  The DOE must give these charters priority in charter school grant competitions.  The State Board of Education will set their regulations. Will student retention be examined?  Will admissions be truly open?  Past is prologue.  Wouldn’t it be hopeful if the SBE were serious about the accountability of such networks?

Here are the details in CB 830:

  1.  Modify application process:  disclose applicant name(s); reveal board members; service providers, prior financial and academic history of other charters
  2. sponsor oversight:  monthly financial records, automatic closure if two consecutive Fs received
  3. reading requirements changed from scientifically based to evidence based program
  4. student eligibility:  open enrollment if not at capacity; may not base admission or dismissal on academic performance; may give preference to Opportunity Scholarships, children who live in a city which owns the charter facility
  5. administrative operations: defer opening two years, maintain a website, board members attend by media technology, and voluntary closure.
  6. cooperative organizations: expands types of services allowed
  7. professional development: requires evaluation system to be aligned with district evaluation system in s. 1012.34
  8. equitable treatment: districts may not impose different site planning requirements
  9. administrative fees: reduces district administrative fees to 3% for charters in critical need area
  10. capital outlay funding: revises audit requirement to determine finaanciaal stability to qualify for capital outlay funding
  11. distribution of funds: specifies that schedule and percentage of funding distributed to charters by districts, and unrestricted access
  12. High performing charter schools
    1. Modifies replication limits for areas of critical need and school grade continue to expand enrollment or grade levels regardless of school grade
    2. extend contract for 15 years
Posted in Admission/Dismissal, Authorization, Charter School Management, discipline, Florida.

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