By Associated Press - Thursday, February 16, 2017

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - A small rural county in Florida’s Panhandle is going to become the first district in the state to have all of its students attend a charter school.

The State Board of Education on Thursday voted to approve a turnaround plan for Jefferson County schools that calls for turning over day-to-day operations to a charter school management company in the fall of 2017.

Jefferson County schools have struggled with declining enrollment, budget troubles and students being held back. State officials have demanded plans to address its problems.

Before voting yes, some board members expressed skepticism about whether or not hiring a charter school company will work.

Charter schools are public schools run by a private board.

Under the proposal, two schools with less than 800 students total would be consolidated into one charter school.

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