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Education

Bill Could Give Out-Of-State Charter Schools A Florida Foothold

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Rocketship Education
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Florida charter schools that consistently earn good grades on the state’s public school report card get special privileges.

Soon, out-of-state charter schools could, too.

The state’s “high performing” label allows schools to expand across Florida more quickly, sign longer-term contracts and pay lower fees to local school districts.

A bill by Sen. Jeff Brandes would allow the State Board of Education to give out-of-state charter school chains the high-performing designation. The bill would also allow out-of-state school operators to pay lower administrative fees to school districts for three years.

Critics say the "high performing" label allows schools to bypass local school board regulation. And, they argue, what works for students in one part of the state might not work in another district.

The State Board of Education would set the criteria out-of-state charter operators would need to meet to earn the high-performing designation.

In past years, Florida and school districts have tried to recruit big charter school operators, such as California’s Rocketship Education. The state recently awarded grants to school districts in Broward, Duval and Miami-Dade counties to try to lure national charter school chains.

But big charter chains are already in Florida.

KIPP has a school in Jacksonville. And Academica and Charter Schools USA are large chains based in South Florida.