Hernando urges denial of charter school bid
BROOKSVILLE -- For the second time, a Hernando County Schools committee has recommended denying a Fort Lauderdale company's bid to open a 350-student charter school for high school dropouts.
The district said Mavericks in Education had failed to show that its local governing board would control the school's curriculum and finances. It said the company overstated the school's potential enrollment and revenues, and had double-counted the value of $250,000 in state grants.
All of those are fatal flaws under the state law governing public charter schools, said David Schoelles, a curriculum specialist and chairman of the review committee.
Superintendent Wayne Alexander appears to have run out of patience. He said he would back the committee's call for a denial of the application.
"We've given them a chance to clean it up once," Alexander said, referring a previous School Board decision to grant an extension. "I think the intention is a great intention. (But) I don't think they've met the standard under the law."
But the company isn't going down without a fight, said Mavericks president and CEO Mark Thimmig. He plans to appear at a Tuesday board workshop to personally argue for the program's value, even if it only serves a fraction of the county's dropouts.
"It's 100 at a minimum, and potentially hundreds of kids who potentially won't get an education next year if we don't open this school," he said. "I have great respect for this superintendent and the board, and I do believe they put kids first."
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-- Tom Marshall, Times Staff Writer