Does anybody see a conflict of interest here? How can lawmakers vote to expand charter schools and then open charter schools? -cpg
by Jeff Solochek
Pasco school district officials say the charter school application filed by Florida House speaker designate Will Weatherford and Anne Corcoran, the wife of future speaker-select Rep. Richard Corcoran, fails on several statutory requirements and should be rejected.
Among the staff’s findings, which go to the School Board on Tuesday, are statements that the proposal did not include funding for computerized testing or performance pay as required by Senate Bill 736, the controversial new law that both Weatherford and Corcoran supported.
The staff review also states that the applicant did not provide programs for intensive reading or intensive math at the middle and high school levels for struggling students, or a detailed curriculum to demonstrate that it met Florida high school graduation requirements, among other concerns.
Weatherford said he was surprised to hear of the recommended denial, which he had not read.
“When we had our meeting (with staff) I thought it went exceptionally well,” he said. “They didn’t seem to have a lot of questions.”
Anne Corcoran said she had gone over the application carefully to ensure it met statutory muster. “We tried to go above and beyond,” she said. She expected to meet with others in the group proposing the charter to determine the next steps if the board denies the application.
Board chairwoman Joanne Hurley said the district supports school choice, but each application must be judged on its merits. She noted the staff is recommending denial of four other charter applications next week, and that the board denied two others earlier this fall.
“I think that putting in a charter school application is a very complicated process, whether it’s done by lawmakers or any other entity,” Hurley said. “They still have to respond to all the questions.”