Charter Schools Rally for Construction Funds

Charter school administrators are asking lawmakers from more money. Unlike traditional public schools, charter schools don’t receive taxpayer funds to build new buildings and repair old ones. 500 charter school students, parents and teachers were in Tallahassee Wednesday trying to find the cash to keep the movement growing.

Armed with signs and yellow shirts, hundreds of charter school students, parents, and teachers swarmed the state capital Wednesday.

The first charter schools in Florida opened in 1996. Today there are more than 500 hundred, educating 180-thousand students. School administrators say a lack of funding is threatening their ability to growth. Cheri Shannon represents Fl Charter School Alliance. “Children who are in charter schools receive on average 30 to 40 percent less funding than children in traditional schools.”

That’s about 2-thousand fewer dollars per student. Charter schools are supporting legislation to eliminate the funding gap. The plan would take billions of dollars from traditional public schools that use the money to build new facilities and fix old ones.

We asked Governor Rick Scott if the schools deserve to be funded at the same level. “They are government funded schools. They are no different that traditional public schools in that matter. We’ve got to make sure they are properly funded.”

House Democrat Evan Jenne supports charter schools, but says they need their own funding source because traditional public schools can’t afford to lose any more money. “We need to find a way to fund charter schools on their own so we don’t have this constant fight over funding.

Legislation to allow equal funding may not pass this session, because of its overall impact of the state’s education budget.

Increases to the school voucher program and legislation to allow more charter schools to open over the past few years has allowed the school option movement to take off. Florida has added 140 new charter schools since 2009.

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  • by RU4Real on Feb 27, 2012 at 09:34 AM
    No, sharter schools are NOT for profit. They are public schools and no, they do NOT cherry-pick their students. Charter schools have a lottery and select from applications submitted by parents. BHCA and NBHCA even have an accounting firm that oversees the lottery to ensure fairness and transparency of the process. I wish people would educate themselves on how the charter schools operate before stating falsehoods as fact . . . Scott, what rules do you think the charter schools not follow?
  • by Anonymous on Feb 25, 2012 at 01:42 PM
    Im for changing the entire education system, K-12 and including college. Make it really simple, privatize 100% of it, you want to procreate and be responsible for children, then you should be responsible for paying for their education too. Enough with hitting every tax payer for education expenses for everyone elses children. If you dont have children, you dont have to pay for their education, if your children are grown and out of school, you no longer have to pay for education.
  • by Tammy on Feb 24, 2012 at 06:46 AM
    I agree with scott - if charter schools want to run things their own way let them find their own funding.
  • by Mike Location: Sarasota on Feb 22, 2012 at 05:26 PM
    This sounds simple but it isn't. The reduction of the capital millage from 2.0 mills to 1.5 mills and plunging property tax revenues have resulted in significant reduction in the capital outlay funds available to school districts to build and/or renovate schools. To reduce those funds further by allocating funds to charter schools would leave many school districts in the position of defaulting on debt service obligations, or not being able to replace, renovate, or maintain existing facilities. Additionally, many charter school lease facilities from vendors associated with the for profit management company managing the school. Should the charter school close the facility would be the property of the for profit company rather than the school district. In other words, under the legislation currently under consideration Florida taxpayers would be subsidizing facilities owned by private, for profit companies, while critical public school facilities needs go unmet.
  • by scott on Feb 22, 2012 at 03:59 PM
    I do not feel sorry, if the charter schools want more money, they should have to follow the same rules as public schools.
    • reply
      by Tax Payer on Feb 26, 2012 at 03:54 PM in reply to scott
      Ummm, aren't Charter Schools for profit? If they are, why don't they use some of their profits to repair the schools. Also, I believe they already have the advantage of basicly bringing students in they want and sending any students who can't perform or cause trouble, back to their designated zoned school. If they want to play by the same rules, then great.
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