Putting Education Reform To The Test

State Task Force Proposal Would Require School Districts To Fund Charter School Facilities

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A state task force proposal would require school districts to give money to charter schools for maintenance, construction and facilities.

A state task force is considering a proposal which would require local school districts to give money to charter schools for facilities.

Construction, maintenance and other capital expenses has been a growing concern for Florida schools as the state funding for those programs has decreased.

A Florida Department of Education task force will meet this afternoon to talk about a new proposal to change state law for district and charter school facilities funding.

Under the proposal, districts would be required to provide facilities funding to charter schools based on the number of students enrolled. Funding would be compulsory, ending the current practice of choosing facilities funding by need.

School districts would have the option of raising local property taxes an additional .15 mills to pay for charter school facilities. Districts can currently levy 1.5 mills on taxpayers for school facilities.

How to fairly fund school facilities has been a difficult issue for school districts to solve.

A 2010 Ball State University study found Florida charter schools received about $2,700 less per student than district schools — and most of that difference was local funding.

The Florida Legislature considered, and rejected, a bill earlier this year which would have required school districts to equalize funding between district and charter school students.

One concern about that bill was that 26 districts do not have any charter schools, which raised questions about treating all districts equally. This new proposal could have similar issues.

The proposal would also eliminate the state’s role in funding school facilities, handing the responsibility — and the potential political backlash from a tax increase — to local school boards.

The meeting starts at 1 p.m. and no vote is expected, just discussion.

You can read the proposal below. Scroll down to Tab Q:


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