Lawmakers work to clamp down on charter schools

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - State lawmakers are working to clamp down on charter schools after the principal of a failed Orange County charter school left her job with a half-million dollar payout.

Channel 9's Lori Brown found out about two proposed laws that would help prevent your money from going to similar payouts.

North Star High School's performance was so bad it was forced to shut down in June, but its principal, Kelly Young, was rewarded with a $519,000 check.

That's because Young had a four-year contract with the school that allowed her to collect 85 percent of her remaining contract, even though the school failed.

Democratic state Rep. Joe Saunders filed a bill Tuesday that would prevent principals from getting paid after their school is forced to shut down.

“I think it's outrageous that that much money, when our schools are stretched to the limit, when schools and teachers are asked to do more with so much less, that such an abuse of taxpayer money would be allowed to occur,” he said.

Republican Sen. David Simmons is drafting a bill that would go even further and give school districts some control over charter school salaries.

“I think we need to stop it from ever happening in the first place,” he said.

Young was earning $305,000 a year, more than the superintendent of Orange County Public Schools.

Her husband, who provided consulting services for the school, earned $470,000 over six years.

“We need to make sure charter schools are reviewed annually and we are making sure that these charter schools are not paying unreasonable salaries to employees,” said Simmons.

Orange County school board chair Bill Sublette hopes lawmakers will go even further and give school districts the power to negotiate limits on charter school salaries and management fees.