'Parent trigger' bill clears Senate budget panel

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Senate's budget panel has advanced a hotly contested bill to give parents a vote on turnaround options for failing public schools.

The "parent trigger" bill (SB 862) cleared the Appropriations committee Tuesday by a 12-6 vote. It now heads to the Senate floor where a similar bill died last year. The House already has passed its version of the bill this year.

The Senate's version makes local school boards -not the State Board of Education - the final decision makers on turnaround options. Some senators questioned that provision. They said local boards were responsible for schools failing in the first place.

Most opponents are concerned about the possibility of public schools being turned over to for-profit educational management companies. That's one of several options parents can vote for.

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