Schools of Hope moves forward to allow charters near struggling district schools

he Florida Board of Education unanimously approved a rule on Wednesday opening the door for private nonprofits to apply to receive millions in state funding to operate charter schools near low-performing public schools, called “Schools of Hope.”

The rule establishes a process for a nonprofit group to become an operator of the charter schools.

The “Schools of Hope” program was passed last year as part of the controversial school choice mega-bill HB7069, which several school districts are challenging in court.

The board also voted to grant an additional $2,000 per student to 14 struggling district schools through the “Schools of Hope” program, adding to the 11 that were already selected in November. Mildred Helmes Elementary in Largo, Midtown Academy in St. Petersburg, as well as Chamberlain High School and Robles Elementary in Tampa were among the recipients.

During the meeting, a teacher from Gadsden County told the board that she was concerned about charter schools poaching teachers away from public schools with the promise of higher salaries.

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