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Tags: Education | desantis | referendum loophole | resource officer

When It Comes to Our Kids, School Choice Should Be Ours Alone

school choice


Sid Dinerstein By Friday, 10 December 2021 04:58 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Once in a while the good guys win.

A big one.

The reason I know about this and many others don’t is because it’s a local issue with national implications.

Plus, it’s not widely reported.

The issue? School choice.

The win? Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeals (in South Florida) voted 7 to 4 to require the Shool District of Palm Beach County to share referendum money with their Charter Schools, proportionate to their enrollment.

The bigger win: The Florida State Supreme Court, the DeSantis court (he appointed three of the seven justices), refused to hear the District's appeal.

This is huge.

This set of decisions allows charters and other choice programs to use the courts to get equal funding and equal protection in those jurisdictions where school boards are hostile to school choice.

Did I mention the $50 million?

This particular case is of extreme importance, one literally of life and death.

Let’s go back to Feb. 14, 2018, a day of extreme tragedy for our entire nation, and for he South Florida region especially.

On that day, a deranged student shot and killed 17 other students at his Broward County public high school. As part of the reaction to that horror, the board of the School District of Palm Beach County decided that every public school in the county should have a "resource officer" — on site.

Resource officer is bureaucratic code for a police officer (or Sheriff’s deputy).

The district's board decided to fund this security increase through a special referendum; one to be placed on the November 2018 ballot.

As part of that referendum's language, the school board excluded their own charter schools from receiving any of the money.

The referendum passed.

The school district pocketed the $200 million and distributed it in accordance with the referendum's specifications.

This means, not a dime went to the more than 20,000 charter school students in Palm Beach County. Let that sink in.

If your child is in a Palm Beach charter school, he or she is not entitled to protection.

Three of the charter schools sued.

They lost. They appealed. They lost.

They appealed to the full appellate court.

They won, 7 to 4.

The school board appealed to the Florida Supreme Court. They passed on hearing it.

Case closed. The kids won. The families won. Common decency won.

The teacher’s union lost — big time.

They never lose, no matter how many minority children are deprived of the education they want. The initial settlement: 50 million dollars. Additional moneys are still being decided on. That’s a big chunk for the 48 Palm Beach County charter schools.

That will allow them to protect their students and retain their teachers.

The politics of the issue are important.

The Palm Beach County School District has seven liberals out of seven seats on its board.

They are as anti-school choice as any other district in the country; they're all pragmatists.

We do not have school board term limits, that means they hang around for a long time.

They know the drill: vote against every school choice issue and have a well-funded easy reelection. Or, vote in favor of any school choice issue and get a well-funded opponent.

Now, the future just got a little brighter for school choice programs everywhere.

Here, in the free state of Florida, the legislature closed the referendum loophole.

Charter schools in every county in Florida will get their proportionate share of school referendum money.

School choice is an issue whose time has come, finally. COVID-19 has given parents a closer look at what their children are learning. Homeschooling is zooming. (Pun intended).

Parents are coming out to school board meetings.

Legislatures are paying attention.

Sid Dinerstein is a former chairman of the Palm Beach County Republican Party. Read More  Here. 

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

This set of decisions allows charters and other choice programs to use the courts to get equal funding and equal protection in those jurisdictions where school districts and boards are hostile to school choice.
desantis, referendum loophole, resource officer
Friday, 10 December 2021 04:58 PM
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