Management of the beleaguered Florida Virtual School appears poised to change after a Florida House budget committee proposed Thursday that the State Board of Education oversee the online program. Currently an independent board of trustees oversees the school that virtually serves 200,000 students.
The FLVS has been dogged by allegations of mismanagement by former board members and its former general counsel Frank Kruppenbacher, a politically connected Orlando attorney. Audits reveal before Kruppenbacher’s departure from the school, he may have influenced which companies were awarded contracts. In addition audits reveal Kruppenbacher may have billed the school for reimbursements done on behalf of other legal clients. Kruppenbacher denies the allegations and says he’s the victim of a smear campaign.
While the House proposal sprang out of nowhere, it appears the Governor’s office and Senate have signed off on the change. A spokesperson for Governor Ron DeSantis told the Orlando Sentinel the House plan is a “good interim solution to the problems” at the virtual school.
The House proposal has the blessing of Senate President Bill Galvano who supports the change in oversight. “I have no objections to the language. I think there have been problems with Florida Virtual School,” Galvano told reporters.
The Orlando Sentinel has led the way in public disclosures of apparent mismanagement at the online school, which received more than $180 million in state funding this fiscal year.
Upon the disclosures, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran called on the legislature to conduct a full audit of FLVS’ management. The House proposal would order Corcoran’s requested audit. In addition, the Florida Board of Education would manage the school and appoint an executive director, who would report directly to Corcoran.
The Florida Virtual School is a pioneer in K-12 online education and until recently had been considered a shining star since its inception in 1997.