Charter operators will go to school

Jenna Hodgens, director of charter schools for Hillsborough County, answers questions at a 2015 orientation. [MARLENE SOKOL | Times]
Jenna Hodgens, director of charter schools for Hillsborough County, answers questions at a 2015 orientation. [MARLENE SOKOL | Times]
Published October 5 2018

Want to open a charter school in Hillsborough County?

An informational meeting is planned on Thur., Oct. 11, in the school district's Instructional Services center at 2920 N 40th Street in Tampa.

The session will run from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

"This orientation is designed to advise prospective charter school operators of the application process aligned with Florida Statutes and includes information on applying for a charter within Hillsborough County," says a notice from the district.

Hillsborough has 49 charter schools, which are publicly funded but managed by private and corporate organizations. They serve about 10 percent of the district's public school students.

The district has taken criticism by opponents of the charter school movement, who say it's wrong for district personnel to use their time to assist organizations that want to take children and money out of the public system. District officials, in their defense, say they consider the charter schools to be a part of the Hillsborough school system and that by working with the operators, they can provide better oversight and head off flawed proposals. Sessions such as the one planned Thursday walk prospective operators through the complicated application process.

The deadline to submit an application to open a charter school in the 2020-2021 school year is Feb. 1. 

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