Panama City- Twenty years into the charter school movement, the debate continues over whether the schools are living up to their purpose.
The latest criticism surrounds federal guidelines requiring all publicly funded schools to serve disabled students. Critics are pointing to a Federal Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday.
It shows in 2009 U.S. charter schools enrolled fewer disabled students compared to the percentage enrolled in the nation's other public schools.
"There's a lot of attention that needs to be paid to those children and a lot of needs they have," said Bay County School Superintendent Bill Husfelt.
So could Bay County's charter schools be accused of discriminating against the disabled?
Husfelt said it they are, it's not intentional.
"Charter schools, if you look at them overall, they're not into complexity. They're into generalities and specific high achievement," said Husfelt.
He also said parents play a big part in the equation.
"The idea of maybe having to participate in volunteer hours, I think those things exclude parents from wanting to get involved," said Husfelt.
But he added Bay County's charter schools aren't necessarily operating by state statutes.
"It's not any longer about those low-performing schools. The original mission of charter schools has changed," said Husfelt.
Husfelt has been an open critic of charter schools for not facing the same state guidelines as other public schools.