Plato Charter to open fourth Pinellas campus
Plato Academy is set to open another school in Pinellas this fall.
Pinellas school board members approved a five-year contract for the new school called the Plato Academy Seminole Charter School, making it the fourth Plato school in the district.
The new school is estimated to divert about $16.6 million away from regular public schools in those five years, according to district records. Though charter schools are public schools – per-student funding comes from the district – they are usually run by independent boards with limited oversight by the district.
The school is among the latest board members approved – they ok'd a contract for Newpoint Preparatory High last month. This brings the total of charter schools in the district to 19, said Dot Clark, the district’s coordinator of partnership schools.
Charter school applications come in once a year. This year the district received 21 applications.
Next year may be different. A new state law removing barriers for charter schools and making it easier for top-rated schools to get 15-year contracts will kick in then. Clark is unsure whether that means there will be more applications, or say what will be different.
“We are still reviewing the law itself,” she said.
- Sylvia Lim, Times correspondent