Imagine charter's elementary school closing in Pinellas County
Imagine Charter School in St. Petersburg will close its elementary school for the 2013/14 school year, leaving its middle school open.
Charter officials had been fighting to keep the school open since last year, when former superintendent John Stewart recommended that the elementary school be closed because of chronic low academic performance. The charter had earned three F grades in four years and had the lowest FCAT scores of any public school in Pinellas County.
Imagine got a reprieve from the School Board in July - which went against Stewart's recommendation - only to then have the School Board move forward with the closure in February under new superintendent Mike Grego. The charter then appealed its case to a state administrative law judge.
But Imagine withdrew its appeal earlier this month. Charter officials and district officials signed off on a joint stipulation of dismissal with the state Division of Administrative Hearings, which means the School Board's decision to close the school stands. Dot Clark, who reviews charter schools for the school district, said they are working out the logistics now.
It's not clear yet where Imagine's elementary students will go to school next year. Clark said they came to Imagine from all over Pinellas, with the biggest concentration of kids - about 28 students - zoned for Lakewood Elementary.
It will be interesting to see how Imagine's students performed on the FCAT this year compared to district schools.
Third grade results, which were released last week, were low at Imagine, but not as bad as a few other struggling schools in Pinellas. Maximo Elementary and Fairmount Park Elementary had worse scores in math than Imagine. In reading, Melrose, Lakewood, Sandy Lane, Campbell Park, Maximo and Fairmount Park elementaries were all worse than Imagine.