Charter Schools USA loses round in Pasco County
Charter Schools USA, one of Florida's largest charter school operators, again has failed to secure a foothold in Pasco County.
The group, which backed out of its contract to open a Pasco school a year ago, could not get that far in its renewed effort to enter the district. The Pasco School Board on Tuesday unanimously rejected an application from the same Charter Schools USA-connected board that recently won a warm welcome in Hillsborough County.
Rod Jurado, chairman of the Florida Charter Educational Foundation, lamented that the application that Pasco adminstrators recommended for denial was similar to one the board relucatantly approved a few years ago. When pressed to answer questions about the proposed school's finances, though, Jurado told the board he didn't know all the answers and offered to respond later after consulting others.
One of the district's biggest concerns centered on the school's plan to use capital projects funding to support daily operations, which is not allowed. District reviewers also questioned the application's revenue and expense projections, and its financial management plan.
"These two deficiencies are very large," said board vice chairwoman Joanne Hurley, who sits on the district charter schools committee. "I have great faith in the committee process we have here, and I have great faith in the evaluation instrument."
On hearing such conviction, Jurado, who had defended Charter School USA's track record and suggested the board overturn the staff recommendation, all but gave up.
"I didn't come to try to change your mind," he told the board. "I came to tell you where I stand, and that we are prepared to work with you."
Board member Cynthia Armstrong responded by thanking him for his time, and telling him that the group is welcome to try again next year after addressing all the district's concerns. She then made the motion to deny the application, receiving multiple seconds.
"We'll be back," Jurado said.