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Carvalho: If Lawmakers Hold Irma Special Session, They Should Rewrite Charter School Law Too

John O'Connor
Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho (center), shown with Gov. Rick Scott (left) and state education commissioner Pam Stewart (right).

Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has a message for state lawmakers: Rewrite a controversial new charter school law now and avoid a lawsuit later.

Carvalho wrote a letter to Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature last month requesting a special session before the end of the year to amend H.B. 7069. The massive law that benefits charter schools has triggered threats of legal action from districts around the state, including Miami-Dade.

Legislative leaders didn’t act on Carvalho’s suggestion. But since some lawmakers have contemplated the possibility of a special session to help meet the state’s needs after Hurricane Irma, he’s trying again.

“There’s an opportunity statewide — devoid of litigation — for us to arrive at a negotiated frameworks that solves some of the issues,” Carvalho said during an interview this week in his downtown Miami office. “Some of the most onerous implications specific to 7069 do not begin until February of 2018, so there is time.”

The onerous implications he’s referring to include provisions in the law that divert local construction funding and federal Title I money from traditional schools to privately run charter schools. The measure also gives some charters independence from elected school boards, which he and other superintendents have argued thwarts the state Constitution.

House and Senate leaders don’t seem interested in his proposition. Scott’s office made it clear the governor doesn’t expect lawmakers to gavel in early — on any issue.

“The governor will review any potential legislative action during the upcoming session, which starts in January,” Scott spokeswoman Kerri Wyland said in a statement.

You can read Carvalho's letter to the governor below: 

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