Florida charter schools seek new approach to facilities funding

redefinED
September 22, 2015

By Travis Pillow

FORT LAUDERDALE — Recent cuts to facilities funding have Florida charter school officials looking for a new approach.

Nearly 20 years since state law first allowed them, even the state’s most established charters can’t predict from one year to the next how much funding they’ll receive for their buildings.

During a meeting of charter school administrators and district officials from around the state on Monday, Vickie Marble, the principal of Student Leadership Academy in Venice, said she was frustrated the state hadn’t found a stable funding source.

“It’s like you’re trying to get a mortgage for your house, and it’s 15 years later, and you still don’t have your house,” she said, adding: “We have to continue to go the Legislature and beg for our supper.”

This year, lawmakers increased operating funds for public schools across the board. Richard Moreno, who helps finance charter schools with Building Hope, said for charters, that increase was largely offset by a decline in capital funding. Districts around the state are now raising teacher salaries, which adds pressure for charter schools to do the same.

“The net effect is almost zero growth, however, your costs went up,” he said.

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