Pasco charter schools plan for continued growth
The world of Pasco County charter schools will keep expanding in the 2014-15 academic year, with three new charters opening and most of the current ones adding enrollment.
With the new year fast approaching, Classical Preparatory School, Pepin Academies-Pasco and Learning Lodge Academy are preparing to debut with a combined 947 students in their seats. Classical Prep will serve K-8 students in a Shady Hills subdivision, while Pepin Academies is set to work with special needs students in a New Port Richey shopping center and Learning Lodge will start off with kindegarten through third graders in a site behind Gulf High School in New Port Richey.
Dayspring Academy, the county's oldest charter school, plans to increase its enrollment by 44 students, as it adds a ninth grade class for the first time. Those seats already are filled, school officials said.
Imagine School at Land O'Lakes projects a 40-student increase, while Countryside Montessori expects to add 25 students, Academy at the Farm to increase by 22 and Athenian Academy to grow by 40. Imagine would be the county's largest charter, with 728 students.
One charter school, Florida Autism Center of Excellence-Pasco, is expected to close after its management company stepped away amid low enrollment and financial struggles. FACE leaders plan to meet Thursday afternoon to talk about the future of the facility and its students, perhaps transferring the operation to a private school.
School district officials also are keeping a close eye on Athenian Academy, which has seen its school grades drop in recent years as student FCAT performance has dramatically declined. The school earned a low D last year, and another poor mark could hurt its finances and threaten its continued viability.