Under the first iteration of the “schools of hope” law, in 2017, the special charter schools could open in the attendance zone or a five-mile radius of “persistently low performing schools.” Those were defined as schools earnings three consecutive years of Ds or Fs under Florida’s school grading system. Only two schools in South Florida met that definition in the 2017-18 school year.
In 2019, the Legislature changed the definition of “persistently low performing school” to mean schools with at least three Ds or Fs in the last five years, unless they improved to an A or B in the last two. That took the number of qualifying schools in South Florida from two to 24.
The Legislature also expanded the geographical areas where “schools of hope” could open in 2019, adding the economic “opportunity zones” designated in President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax plan. There are more than 400 in Florida, 67 in Miami Dade County alone.
All of the highlighted areas are potential homes for new charter “schools of hope.”