Narrowly defeated in the Senate last year, charter school management organizations and conservatives are ready to push so-called “parent trigger” legislation once again.
Part of the reason advocates are taking another stab at what they prefer to call the “parent empowerment” law is because last year’s tie vote that killed the bill was partially blamed on in-fighting among Republican senators. However, there has since been turnover in both chambers with Democrats gaining seats. That makes “parent trigger” an even tougher battle this session.
Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, filed SB 862 today. It is similar to the final version of last year's failed SB 1718. The proposal would allow parents at failing schools to choose a turnaround strategy for the school by signing a petition. One option, of course, is to convert the school into a charter school.
SB 862 allows local school boards to choose the option it thinks is best for students even if they disagree with what parents indicated. However, the state Board of Education can override that and side with parents. Stargel said she agreed to sponsored the legislation in the Senate (a House version is expected soon) because as a parent of five chilren she believes in its mission.
Noting how similar the bill is to last year's version, she said she doesn't plan any major changes in strategy for getting it passed. "Some of it was on the policy, a lot of it was based on politics," Stargel said about last year's failed effort.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education or state-based Foundation for Florida's Future along with charter school management organizations are expected to be major proponent of the bill.