Leon County School Board tables vote on charter schools

By: Alicia Turner | WCTV Eyewitness News
April 10, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Tuesday night, the Leon County School Board approved a motion, 4-1, to table the vote on the Tallahassee Classical and Plato charter schools.

Both schools submitted applications on February 1 and met the requirements to be approved by the district. Board members were torn between whether or not the approval will be in the best interest of the district financially and when it comes to addressing segregation and economic disparities within Leon County Schools.

Board Chair Alva Striplin and Superintendent Rocky Hanna say in the long run, just one of the schools will cost the district millions. Board members who weren't willing to deny the application say without a justified reason to do so, denying the application goes against the state statue, which means going against the law.

One parent had this to say, "I'm on the fence about it. I think it will be a great opportunity to give parents more choices on where they want to send their kids. I also don't want to see the money taken from public schools."

Scott Mazur with the Leon County Teachers Association said, "I understand that the board is in a very difficult situation because the law speaks to what is allowable. But, it does damage our public school system by taking very much needed funds and diverting them to the charter. I believe that everybody wants what's best for kids; however at the cost of the majority it doesn't seem like the wisest decision at this time."

Superintendent Hanna feels the board can deny it with "just cause," based on the reason that the state denied the district funding for a new school. The state said that there weren't any enrollment numbers to support the need for it.

Hanna says he'd rather vote no and it be overturned in an appeal, allowing for the "go ahead" to come from the state level and not the school board. Hanna says with its approval, there will be cuts to make it possible, and there's no way to tell where they will happen.

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