From the Palm Beach Post:
What began with School Board member Frank Barbieri asking for a conversation about an application to build a seventh Renaissance Charter School in the district ended with the board unanimously denying the charter because by their measure the school was offering nothing “innovative” that the district’s schools don’t.
It was the first time the board took this line, denying a charter simply because they deemed it had nothing special to offer students.
Charter Schools USA, the company behind the Renaissance application, is bound to appeal the denial to the state. Officials at CSUSA are expected to call with a comment today.
Several board members on their way to re-election, including Debra Robinson and Marcia Andrews, said this fall that they appreciate the role some charter schools play, serving, for example, populations such as severely autistic children, who don’t get complete service within district-run schools.
But they said they were fed up with approving schools that offer nothing special for children and, from their point of view, were built simply to compete for students and the dollars that come with them.
Wednesday at a board workshop, Barbieri echoed those concerns.
“When you have a brand new charter school being built next to an A-rated middle school like Emerald Cove that has no problem with the majority of students there… if we’re going to be in competition with charter schools, let’s level the playing field,” he said. “They have an unfair advantage… we have to take every child that walks in the door… until we have a level playing field, I’m not voting for a charter school like Renaissance that have no more objective than to make profit at the disadvantage of our children.”
The Duval County School Board could really learn a lesson from the Palm Beach school board.