Pasco charter schools look to grow
Aiming to take advantage of new, less restrictive laws, Pasco County's charter schools have asked for permission to increase their enrollment for 2012-13.
It's permission that the School Board has little flexibility in considering, as the state Legislature has already authorized the growth anyway. The request is more a formality than anything.
As it stands, the Academy at the Farm seeks to add only 5 more students (1.3 percent above its 2011-12 maximum permitted enrollment), the smallest of the proposed increases. Dayspring Academy looks to add 30 students (5.8 percent). Athenian Academy plans to grow by 52 students (14.8 percent). Countryside Montessori wants to add a seventh grade with 18 students (8.2 percent). And Imagine School seeks to add 70 students (12 percent).
The proposals have superintendent Heather Fiorentino and her staff looking for ways to deal with the expected reduction in district funding as additional students leave traditional schools for the charters. The district has to give the charters per student funding based on their projections at the beginning of the year, she said, regardless of whether the students enroll.
If they don't show up in the charters, the district will get the money back later. "But you can't spend the money twice," Fiorentino said.