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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Go Davis to head charter school effort



go_davis.Goliath Davis, the former St. Petersburg police chief and high-ranking city administrator, is president of a new group seeking to create charter school seats for black students in Pinellas County.

The Gradebook noted Davis' involvement last week. But attorney Guy Burns told members of the Concerned Organizations for Quality Education for Black Students today that Davis will head the new group, which recently incorporated as The Learning Village of Pinellas Inc. The Florida Division of Corporations lists Davis as the group's president and former state Rep. Bill Heller, D-St. Petersburg, as vice president.

"Everybody's looking at alternative efforts ... to deal with kids who are struggling" and that includes private schools, vouchers and charter schools, Davis, who arrived at today's meeting after Burns left, told The Gradebook. "Heretofore, those alternatives didn't exist. Now that they do, we want to look at the full menu of options."

Under last summer's settlement from the Crowley case, the Pinellas school board agreed to give "full and prompt consideration" to charter school applications that are "located in and designed to serve student needs in the black community." It agreed to an aspirational goal of at least 500 new charter seats for black students in the next five years. Burns, who represented the plaintiffs, also agreed to use $75,000 from the settlement to support charter school applicants.

Davis, who was fired last month by St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, said he would not be paid for his work with Learning Village.

Burns also told COQEBS that the charter group agreed it would be too difficult to try to have charter applications ready by this year's Aug. 1 deadline. The group will instead aim for Aug. 1, 2012, he said, which would potentially put new charter schools in place in fall 2013.

[Last modified: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 1:47pm]


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