Charter school facts
Published: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 at 12:31 a.m.
A Gainesville Sun editorial ("The charter bypass," Jan. 6) missed some important points. Although state law gives an appointed state commission the authority to override the decision of the elected school board and allow a charter school in a county, I don't see how this violates the state constitution.
There is an important word missing from the authority granted school boards by the constitution and that word is "create." If that one word was inserted, all argument would fade and the school board would have authority to "create, operate, control and supervise all free public schools" within the district. In interpreting law, courts generally follow the rule that the mention of one word implies the exclusion of another.
There is no question that the school board exerts some control and supervision on the public charter schools through its power to revoke the charter for mismanagement. But does the school board "operate" the charter schools? The school board does not appoint the school principal or teachers, nor decide curriculum. Those are important aspects of "operate."
A good argument could be made, however, that the school board does not "operate" the charter schools that it has approved over the past 10 years and thus, the school board has lost the argument of "operate" because it failed to argue that point when the original law allowing charter schools was enacted.
Another point missed by the editorial writer was how well charter school students perform. They are not superior, but they also are not inferior. It is most important to realize that charter schools work with considerably less public funds. They only get what the state provides per student; nothing from local millage, nor funds to rent or buy a schoolhouse. They also provide parents with "choice," something dear to all of us.
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