Broward County files lawsuit opposing new law regarding charter schools

Lawsuit challenges new state law

By Paradise Afshar - Digital Editor
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Broward County Public Schools filed a lawsuit Monday opposing a law pertaining to charter schools.

The school district is joining a dozen school districts across the state that are participating in a lawsuit that seeks to challenge provisions, which they claim are unconstitutional, in the law that was passed on July 1.

"Our school board authorized us to bring this lawsuit forward to protect the school boards and the citizens' constitutional right to local control of public education," Superintendent Robert Runcie said in a media release. "We strongly believe there are several aspects of 7069 that disregard the mandate of the Florida Constitution in ways that would fundamentally alter and undermine public education. Although we are focused on the challenges of the moment, which means addressing the various deficiencies in 7069, our long-term perspective remains dedicated toward advocating for sufficient education funding that ensures the success of all children attending public schools -- traditional and charter."

A media release issued by the school district said that the law allows corporate charter schools to take property taxes to build and renovate their own facilities -- something Broward County is against. 

The lawsuit also opposes a portion in the law that "allows a charter school to open without the locally elected district school board having authority to ensure that it is efficient, safe, secure or of high quality for its students," a media release said.

The lawsuit goes on to list funding under Title I and entering into a mandated contract with charter school operators as items they oppose.

The law "mandates the use of standard 'one size fits all' contracts with terms forced upon a local district school board by the state and by unelected charter school operators," a media release said. "An authorized charter school system may serve as local education agencies in direct competition with public school districts. It allows charters to operate as public schools over which the local electorate that is funding them has no authority to change leadership or influence policy."

The "schools of hope" program, which is a charter school that can be built to address various needs in low-income neighborhoods, is a point of contention, according to a media release, because charter schools aren't required to serve that community and don’t have to hire certified teachers.

To read the lawsuit in its entirety, click here.

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