DeSantis Signs Controversial Bill Requiring Schools Districts To Share Local Money With Charters

May 15, 2019

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a controversial measure requiring school districts to share a cut of local money with charter schools on Wednesday.

The bill, which largely addresses tax relief following hurricanes and tax cuts for business leases, drew opposition from school districts that object to sharing tax dollars with charters run by for-profit companies. The change in law means that districts will have to share money collected through special voter referendums.

The law takes effect in July and over covers referendums passed after that date. That means it does not include about 20 local measures passed by districts in 2018, including in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, that pay for improving school security, raising teacher salaries and other issues.

"It has a seven-day disaster supply tax holiday, tax relief for repair and recovery and tax relief for fuel purchases," DeSantis said in a speech at the state's annual hurricane conference in West Palm Beach before signing the bill. "So as we go into a new hurricane season, that is going to be important."

The charter provision went through several changes, including omitting a requirement to retroactively require districts to share money. Charters must also spend the money on the same issues as districts.