Florida roundup: Charter school payout, charter school oversight audit & more

Sen. Simmons

Big payout to charter school principal. The principal of a failed charter school gets a $519,453 check from the school’s board, reports the Orlando Sentinel, prompting outrage from Orange County school district officials and a call for an investigation from state Sen. David Simmons: “There’s no room for abuse by charter or traditional schools,” Simmons, a strong supporter of school choice, told the paper. “All it does is hurt children.”

Lax oversight of charter school funding. An audit finds the U.S. Department of Education did not properly monitor how states were spending hundreds of millions of federal dollars for charter schools, reports the Associated Press. The audit also looked at charter funding oversight in Florida, California and Arizona. In Florida, according to the story, “state officials had no records of which schools received federal grant money nor which schools received on-site monitoring and audits.”

Charters, IB and a level playing field. The charter school system in Lake Wales complains the Polk County school district isn’t playing fair in recruiting students to the district’s IB programs, reports The Ledger.

Tax credit scholarships helping private schools. Growth in Florida’s tax credit scholarship program is giving private schools a boost, reports the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Teacher who likes Mitt Romney. StateImpact Florida interview here.

Lesson from Miami-Dade. In winning the Broad Prize, the Miami-Dade school district showed “poverty does not have to be an obstacle to success,” editorializes the Miami Herald.

Pick up the pace. Florida needs to put even more focus on education and accelerate improvement, editorializes the Fort Myers News Press.

A closer look. Pinellas Superintendent Mike Grego says the district’s state-directed teacher evaluation system, which has caused widespread frustration, needs a review, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

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BY Ron Matus

Ron Matus is director for policy and public affairs at Step Up for Students and a former editor of redefinED. He joined Step Up in February 2012 after 20 years in journalism, including eight years as an education reporter with the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times). Ron can be reached at rmatus@stepupforstudents.org or (727) 451-9830. Follow him on Twitter @RonMatus1 and on facebook at facebook.com/redefinedonline.