‘Competitive’ magnet school may be in the works

Photo of Sen. Perry courtesy: Mainstreet Daily News

State Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainseville, has filed a measure that will bring a competitive magnet school to Florida. It would be a boarding school that would put up the best and brightest academically from across the state.

The school will be located in Alachua County and will be for students in grades 6-12. He hopes it can open for the 2024-2025 school year. Perry believes that this will bring a higher academic standard for all of Florida. He hopes this will be the IMG-style academy for academics.

“It will be based on a competitive, rigorous classrooms and work on competition through state and national and even international levels,” Perry said.

The goal is for this program to be among the highest ranked middle and high schools in the nation.

Other states have already begun to establish programs like this, including North Carolina, Alabama and Texas. Florida is looking to be a part of the list as well.

SB 1386: Florida School for Competitive Academics will revise the components of delivery of public education within the Florida Early Learning 20 education system to include the Florida School for Competitive Academics.

“The mission of the Florida School for Competitive Academics is to provide students who meet selective admissions requirements an environment that will foster high academic engagement and advanced understanding of subject areas,” SB 1386 says.

State Sen. Lori Berman, D-Boca Raton, is in support of the proposal.

“I think this is a great program and I would like to see it expand further to South Florida areas as well as it develops,” Berman said.

State Sen. Rosalind Osgood, D-Fort Lauderdale, also believes this measure will help Florida’s education system and its reputation.

“Coming from a school board I can tell you that these magnet programs really work especially when we start in middle school,” Osgood said.

The process of building the school will happen soon. Perry said his team will have the budgets for the first, second, and third year of the school’s development.

For it to begin, Perry said he has to get the Florida Senate, House and governor on board and he has already started doing that.

“I am encouraged that the governor and his staff understand the importance of this,” Perry said.

The bill has made it through the Senate K-12 Education Committee with a 12-0 vote. On Wednesday it was in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education, where it was approved with a 11-0 vote.