Duval County school board rails against proposed bill on charter schools

Julia Jenae is on your side. 4/4/2017

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Duval County's school board members urged parents take action against a proposed bill in the Florida House Tuesday evening. House Bill 5105 revises school improvement plans, action on failing schools and charter school corrective action.

During Tuesday's school board meeting, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti called the bill a violation of the authority of the local school board.

"The only entity that should be authorized to open or close schools is the [elected] school board, not the state of Florida, not legislators in Tallahassee," Vitti said. 

The bill looks to more quickly "turnaround" schools that receive a D or F rating from the state. An option for schools that don't turnaround in two years is closure of the school, and a revamp as a private charter school. 

"[This could mean] no sports teams [for certain schools] anymore, it doesn't matter if you made the football spring jamboree," said school board member Lori Hershey. "That's why it's so important for the community to know about this, to be aware and to take action."

Vitti's strong stance against charter schools has also been the subject of his interview process with the Detroit School District. He's one of two finalists for the position of superintendent in Detroit.  He has voiced he'll continue charter school opposition if selected by Detroit's school board. 

"It puzzles anyone that is committed to turn around through traditional public education, as to why we're thinking about radically shifting,"  says Vitti.

HB5101 is on the Wednesday agenda for the appropriations committee.

See full bill text here

Find Florida legislator contact information here

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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