School districts aren’t the only ones raising concerns about a plan to standardize charter school contracts in Florida.
Some charter school representatives have indicated they have concerns about the proposal, which is set to be taken up next week by the state Board of Education, and might consider challenging a state rule creating a standard contract for charter schools throughout the state.
Provisions in the standard contract would not be binding. They are intended to serve as a starting point for the contracts that govern charter schools. The proposal stems from 2013 legislation passed with backing from charter school advocates who were concerned districts could insert provisions they viewed as problematic.
But Stephanie Alexander, an attorney who represents charter schools, warned state education officials in August that some of her clients might challenge the proposal because it spells out a long list of reasons a school district could potentially shut down a charter school. The draft contract contains a list that “is too broad, goes beyond the statute, and invites further mischief by the school boards,” she wrote in an email to state school choice director Adam Miller.
At the time of her message, three schools managed by Charter Schools USA, a charter management organization her firm represents, were in the thick of a standoff with the Hillsborough County school district. Since then, the conflict has ebbed, the two sides are working out their differences, and the district has assured parents the schools won’t be shut down.