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South Florida Schools Competed for An Extra $2K Per Student — And Broward Lost

Joe Rimkus Jr.
Miami Herald
Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie is shown here. The district applied for some extra state funding for three elementary schools but lost in two different rounds.

The Broward County school district was passed over — again — for an extra $2,000 per student at three of its most struggling elementary schools.

The state Board of Education on Wednesday awarded the funding to 14 schools throughout the state, none of which were in South Florida.

It was the second round of awards, which were provided to a total of 25 schools statewide. Five schools in Miami-Dade County and three in Palm Beach County were included in the first round of winners in October.

Broward County Public Schools applied during both rounds but did not win. The district was seeking more than $3.4 million for Dillard Elementary School, Larkdale Elementary School and Northside Elementary School.

Wednesday's winners included schools in the following counties: Brevard, Duval, Gadsden, Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam and Volusia.

The two-year grants will allow winning districts to install social services that aim to mitigate the effects of poverty on academic performance. For example, the Miami-Dade schools plan to use the money to provide behavioral health therapy and job help for parents, as well as tutoring and pregnancy prevention for students.

The funding was included as a compromise in the controversial new charter school law, House Bill 7069. The measure offers lucrative incentives to attract charters to neighborhoods with D- and F-rated public schools. Superintendents — including Miami-Dade’s Alberto Carvalho and Broward’s Robert Runcie — fought for the extra money to help districts turn those schools around.

Broward is leading a lawsuit with a dozen other school districts challenging House Bill 7069. The Palm Beach County district filed a separate lawsuit. Miami-Dade has not yet sued, although most School Board members have voted in favor of proceeding with a lawsuit eventually.

Click here to read the applications from each round.

Jessica Bakeman is Director of Enterprise Journalism at WLRN News, and she is the former senior news editor and education reporter. Her 2021 project "Class of COVID-19" won a national Edward R. Murrow Award.
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