The contentious "parent trigger" bill failed again in the Florida Senate, dying Tuesday on a tie vote just as it did in 2012.
The bill aimed to give parents more say in the fate of a struggling school, allowing them, by petition, to select a "turnaround" plan from the options already listed in state law.
Those options include allowing the school to remain "district managed" but with changes, turning it into a charter school, closing the campus or allowing a private-management firm to run the school.
The Senate version differed from the House bill — passed April 4 — in that it gave the local school board "final and conclusive" say about what option was chosen. The House bill said that if the parents pick a different option than the local board, the State Board of Education, whose members are political appointees, would have final say.
Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, proposed the Senate change to "eviscerate the argument" that with the bill's passage "corporate organizations are going to take over," he said. "That's simply not true."
He said his language was a "compromise" and an effort to pass a controversial bill that was approved by the House in 2012 but died in the Senate on a tie vote.
But his arguments did not hold sway with enough Senators. The vote ended in a 20-to-20 tie, with six Republicans joining the 14 Democrats in opposition.
The bill was officially a "parent empowerment" act but was dubbed the "parent trigger" bill as it was modeled after California's first-in-the-nation legislation with that name.
Its defeat was cheered by the Florida Education Association. "The second time around is just as sweet as the first," said Andy Ford, the teachers union president. "It's just a bad bill."