DeSantis: Use Trump tax plan to expand charter schools

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to leverage a tax incentive championed by President Donald Trump to launch a five-fold expansion of charter schools in the state. Some 250 Florida communities could be candidates for the new charter schools under the DeSantis plan. The DeSantis budget proposed linking the state‘s Schools of Hope program to federal “opportunity zones”created by Trump’s $1.5 billion tax plan. The zones, which were championed by policymakers on the left and right, offer tax incentives to encourage private investment in economically distressed and lower-income communities. At least 247 Florida communities would be eligible for Hope schools, up from 47 currently, if lawmakers approve the DeSantis plan. The governor’s budget also includes additional incentives to charter schools, such as money for construction. Hope schools currently are permitted to open their doors only near “persistently low-performing schools” that fail to earn a grade of C or better from the state three years in a row. The program was championed in 2017 by then-House Speaker Richard Corcoran.