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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Next time we might slap your wrist



The Pasco School Board took an interesting approach today in dealing with a charter school that had violated its contract with the board. It rewrote the contract to make the violation okay.

Board members criticized the Athenian Academy for enrolling more students than its agreement allowed. They talked about how some of the county's charter schools - especially the poorly run ones - too frequently break the rules and then come in after the fact seeking absolution. And those who blame the district for their woes generally have only themselves to blame, board member Frank Parker said, advising the administration to closely monitor the charter schools' business activities.

"At some point in time, we really need to stop doing this," chairwoman Marge Whaley said of the board's willingness to let the charter schools get away with contract violations. Contracts need to mean something, she added.

Just not this time.

Noting the district is convening a charter school task force, which should help improve communications with the schools, the board unanimously voted to amend the Athenian Academy's agreement so it could have the 268 children it has enrolled. Since the school had room, it made no sense to uproot the children, board member Allen Altman reasoned.

But next time, the schools better watch out, Whaley said. "The message we're trying to send to the charter schools is ... if they keep doing this, there's going to come a time when we're going to say, you have to send the kids home," she said. "It will be soon."

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:23am]


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