TAMPA, Fla. (WTSP) -- The state legislature’s push to increase the influence of charter schools under the Schools of Hope program has caused lots of controversy among districts across the state.

This is despite its offer to give some failing schools an additional $2,000 per student.

Nearly three dozen underperforming schools are eligible to apply for the money in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Manatee counties. Hillsborough County has 18 eligible schools; the highest number in the state.

The Schools of Hope program is part of HB 7069, which went to effect at the beginning of the month. It faced a lot of scrutiny from district leaders who felt it prioritized charter schools over traditional public ones by offering financial incentives for charters to open and operate near failing schools.

Some districts in South Florida are taking legal action against the state. Pinellas and Polk school districts have considered doing the same.

Emerald Morrow is a reporter with 10News WTSP. Like her on Facebook and follow her on Instagram and Twitter. You can also email her at emorrow@wtsp.com.

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