House Republicans turn back Dem attempts to scuttle charter school billby John Kennedy | April 21st, 2014
House Republicans beat back efforts Monday by Democrats looking to scuttle a proposal that would further fuel the already explosive growth of charter schools in Florida.
The legislation (CS/HB 7083) is opposed by Palm Beach County and other school districts. It would make it easier for “high-performing” charter school companies operating out-of-state to enter Florida.
The measure also would require school districts statewide to use a standard contract, which districts say will hurt their ability to negotiate with charter school boards. It likely faces a final House vote today.
House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, earlier promised a “massive expansion” of school choice options this spring. But so far, fellow Republicans in the Florida Senate have proved a hurdle, rejecting key provisions of the
charter school bill and another to expand private-school vouchers.
“I do understand that we have two chambers in this building,” said Rep. Manny Diaz, R-Miami, sponsor of both efforts. “Our bill is going to be a little different than theirs.”
With the Legislature opening its final scheduled two weeks, the fate of the charter bill, voucher effort and another House-backed, but Senate-rejected proposal to grant in-state college and university tuition to children of undocumented immigrants, will all be likely tied to wide-ranging negotiations between the two sides.