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Florida lawmakers want to bring in more charter schools

Proposal for options in failing schools
Posted at 5:33 PM, Apr 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-03 17:33:54-04

When the McCalin’s moved to Pasco County, they didn’t have much of a choice, but to send their daughter to Gulf Highlands Elementary.

“I looked into the schools, but this was the one that was in our district,” said Karma McClain.

The last three years this school earned an F and two D’s from Florida’s Department of Education.

“It bothers me, especially because my child is one that needs extra help she struggles,” she said.

It’s because of more than a hundred Florida schools stuck in a cycle of poor performance that Republican law makers are trying to shake things up in a big way.

It’s a proposed bill known as ‘schools of hope.’

Representatives like Clearwater’s Chris Latvala want to spend $200 million dollars to bring in “the best of the best charter schools in the entire country.”

“It’s needed because these kids, 77,000 of them in the state of Florida do not have the same opportunities that other kids and that’s by virtue of their zip code,” said Latvala.

It’s those communities where the charter schools would come to.

They’d have to be within 5 miles of the public school, meet several qualifications and have a proven track record.

“Whether it’s Harlem, Washington, DC, New York City or other areas around the country where they literally turned around neighborhoods,” said Latvala.

Critics say the money should just go to helping the failing schools, but Latvala says doubling the per student spending didn’t help at all in Jefferson County.

Latvala said he wants traditional public schools to succeed. 

But also believes parents and students should have options.

Visit the Florida House of Representatives website for details of the bill.