Florida’s Public Schools Are Closing as School Choice Takes Off

Posted on 5/27/2024 by with 0 comments

(DCNF)—As Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has pushed school choice initiatives, leading to a spike in charter and private school enrollments, public schools are shutting down.

Across the state, public school enrollment is declining. Duval County Public School District, the sixth-largest school district in Florida and 20th largest in the country, is now considering campus closures due to dramatic dips in their enrollment.

Broward County Public Schools, Florida’s second largest school district, has evaluated plans to close up to 42 campuses over the next few years. The Miami-Dade county has also experienced a substantial decline in enrollment rates. Of the roughly 68,000 privately enrolled students from 2019-2023, more than a third of them came from Duval, Broward and Miami counties, according to data from the Florida Department of Education.

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“If your product is better, you’ll be fine. The problem is, they are a relic of the past — a monopolized system where you have one option,” Chris Moya, a Florida lobbyist representing charter schools, told Politico. “And when parents have options, they vote with their feet.”

In March of 2023, DeSantis signed legislation promoting school choice for parents and students. The bill eliminated restrictions based on financial eligibility and got rid of school enrollment caps.

Broward County Public Schools, Florida’s second largest school district, has evaluated plans to close up to 42 campuses over the next few years. The Miami-Dade county has also experienced a substantial decline in enrollment rates. Of the roughly 68,000 privately enrolled students from 2019-2023, more than a third of them came from Duval, Broward and Miami counties, according to data from the Florida Department of Education.

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“If your product is better, you’ll be fine. The problem is, they are a relic of the past — a monopolized system where you have one option,” Chris Moya, a Florida lobbyist representing charter schools, told Politico. “And when parents have options, they vote with their feet.”

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