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Broward County District Looks to Charters to Improve Schools

The Broward County school district in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is hoping to draw a national charter school organization to run schools in one of the poorest parts of the district.

District officials hope to use a $3.3 million grant the school system received from the state last year to attract an out-of-state charter organization with a stellar reputation running schools in poor communities, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

'We're looking for innovation, and we're looking for how to crack the code for working with fragile communities," Leslie Brown, the district's chief portfolio services officer, told the paper.

The district is banking that perks such as free facility space and access to district resources and community and social services will pique interest beyond Florida.

The area targeted by the district has been home to a number of schools that have been rated D and F under the state's rating system, according to the paper. Thirty-seven percent of the population lives in poverty, and single parents head more than half of the households.

Seven charter schools have closed or have been ordered to close in the area considered by the district, according to the report. 

The state grant was awarded late last year to Broward, Miami-Dade, and Duval counties to foster more cooperation between districts and charter schools.

The district hopes to award the grant to a charter operator who can begin operation in 2016. 

Part of the grant will also go toward strengthening oversight of charter schools, the paper reports. 

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