Broward County, 12 Other Districts File Legal Challenge to New Charter School Law

Oct 16, 2017

Broward County and a dozen other school districts filed a much-anticipated lawsuit targeting House Bill 7069 on Monday.

In the 25-page lawsuit filed in Leon County, the plaintiffs argue several provisions in the new charter school law are unconstitutional.

The following are aspects of the law that they’re challenging:

  • The so-called “schools of hope” provision, which offers funding to attract privately run charter schools to areas where traditional public schools are struggling.
  • A provision that requires school districts to share local property tax revenue with charters.
  • A provision that directs more federal Title I funding directly to the nontraditional schools. This limits districts’ ability to use the money for community-wide programming such as mobile STEM labs or parenting training classes.
  • A provision allows charter operators to form what’s called “local education agencies” — essentially their own schools districts — outside the authority of elected school boards.
  • A provision that standardized the contracts districts enter into with charter school operator.

Broward is the only South Florida district that’s participating. But other plaintiffs represent major metropolitan areas, too: Orlando, Jacksonville and St. Petersburg among them. Rural and suburban counties are taking part, as well.

“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,” Broward County Public Schools superintendent Robert Runcie said in a statement.

The new lawsuit is separate from one Palm Beach County already filed on its own.

Proponents of the law, chiefly the conservative leaders of the Florida House of Representatives, have denounced districts for spending money on challenging it.

Read it here.