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Charter school groups show renewed interest in Pasco County



With applications due in less than two months, potential charter school operators have begun expressing their interest to the Pasco County school district.

Three are renewing their failed efforts from a year ago.

Anne Corcoran, the wife of state Rep. Richard Corcoran, has indicated she will resubmit her application for Classical Preparatory School, which would focus on the old-style classic learning styles including strong emphasis on logic and grammar, with lessons in Latin and Homer. Notably, her letter of interest does not mention the participation of incoming state House speaker Will Weatherford, who was on the school's proposed board the first time around.

Classical Prep would be a K-8 school to start, with a maximum enrollment of 224 children. Within five years, it would seek to add high school classes and bump its enrollment up to a maximum of 358 students. Corcoran writes that she would intend to open the campus on the State Road 54/56 corridor between Gunn Highway and Cypress Ridge Boulevard.

The Southwest Florida Virtual Charter School Board, which recently dropped its appeal of Pasco's 2011 rejection, is back with another proposal to open Florida Virtual Academy at Pasco County. It aims to start with 333 students in kindergarten through ninth grade, with plans to grow to 757 K-12 students within five years. The school would only have leased office and meeting space, with its instructional program fully online. One board director is Wendy Howard, a Pasco mom who now heads the Florida chapter of the National Coalition for Public School Options.

Quest Academy, submitted in 2011 by educators previously associated with Academy at the Farm charter school in Dade City, is proposing to open an elementary school for 170 students in either New Port Richey or Hudson. Its focus would be to prepare students to "successfully participate in their family, school and community" with a curriculum that focuses on the environment. Within five years, the school would add middle school grades and expand to 320 students.

A fourth submission comes from a new group called Bethesda Charter School. The group, being advised by former Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High charter school principal Phildra Swagger, says it wants to open a middle-high school for "high academic success" using a blended classroom-technology education program. It does not have a location set. Its three listed board members all list Plant City addresses. They are Jide Ogun, King Yeotan and Teletha Yeotan.

The application deadline is Aug. 1.

[Last modified: Friday, June 15, 2012 7:18am]


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