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New school choice law could send $96 million to charter schools

ORLANDO, Fla. — Two weeks after Gov.  Rick Scott came to Orlando to sign the new school funding bill (HB 7069), residents are getting their first look at what this legislation will do to traditional local public schools.

According to documents from the Florida House, Orange County Public Schools will give roughly 4 percent of its taxpayer funding, about $3.7 million, to charter schools.

Osceola County, though smaller than Orange County, will give a larger percentage, 7 percent, to charter schools.

The state’s two largest school systems, Miami-Dade and Broward, will pay the most.

Miami-Dade will contribute about $22 million, while Broward will contribute about $12 million.

Critics of the plan say it doesn’t add more money to education, but instead takes tax dollars out of traditional public schools to give to charter schools.

Supporters argue that the capital aid is just a maximum dollar amount that would only apply if every charter within a school’s boundaries qualifies.  They also point out that not all charters would be eligible for the money, saying schools that serve students with disabilities and low-income students would be the priority.