Charter school students storm the Florida Capitol

Charter school students storm the Florida Capitol
Kathleen McGrory, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
April 7, 2015

If the Florida Capitol seems busier than usual today, there's a reason: About 300 charter school students are making the rounds.

Eighteen groups of students have meetings with lawmakers Tuesday.

Their goal: to build support for charter schools.

"We're here because we love our charter schools and we're trying to get some changes," said Hampton Toole, 15, a sophomore at North Bay Haven Charter Academy in Panama City.

Specifically, charter school advocates are hoping lawmakers will designate a steady stream of revenue for construction and maintenance. The House included a funding mechanism in its charter school bill (HB 7037), but the Senate has yet to take up the issue.

Hampton said students are also encouraging lawmakers to scale back standardized testing.

They had a successful meeting with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach.

"He told us that believes in the vision of charter schools, and that he's advocating for some of the changes that are important to us," Hampton said.