While voucher expansion languishes, House gives charter schools more heftby John Kennedy | March 24th, 2014
While efforts to expand private-school vouchers in Florida have stalled, a push by Republican leaders to help charter schools spread in the state continued to gain traction Monday.
The legislation, opposed by Palm Beach County and other school districts, cleared the House education-budget subcommittee in a party-line vote, with Democrats voting against the measure.
The charter school bill (HB 7083) is seen as a key part of a “massive expansion” of school choice promised this session by House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel.
“We’re trying to streamline the process so that we can get more quality educational opportunities available for our children across the state,” said Rep. Manny Diaz, R-Miami, sponsor of the measure.
But another proposal endorsed by Weatherford, aimed at doubling the 60,000 students now getting taxpayer money to attend private schools, looks endangered. The Senate last week withdrew its version of the legislation in a dispute over what kind of standardized tests these voucher students would take.
Last week’s blow-up heightens the stakes for reaching agreement this spring on the charter school proposal.
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