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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco district officials recommend denial of new charter school application



Citing concerns with its proposed financial and management oversight, the Pasco school district administration has recommended the School Board deny what would become the county's tenth charter school.

Florida Charter Educational Foundation, which oversees the Henderson Hammock charter school in Hillsborough County, has asked to open Pasco Charter Academy in 2016 with 661 students in kindergarten through sixth grade. During its requested five-year contract, it seeks to expand to eighth grade, with its enrollment rising to 1,145 students.

According to district staff, the application "fails to provide a realistic assessment of the projected sources of revenue and expenses that ensure the financial viability of the school." They state the enrollment projections are "very high" assumptions, well above other recent charter startups in the county, and lower numbers would have a significant impact on the bottom line.

The staff also noted that the application did not include clear descriptions of how the school's finances would be managed.

Florida Charter Educational Foundation also attempted to open a charter school in Pasco a year ago, overcoming strong School Board reservations about its Charter Schools USA management ties to win a contract. In the end, it backed out, unable to secure a location.

Its current proposal also does not include a specific site for a campus. The School Board is scheduled to take up the application on Tuesday.

A second charter applicant, Plato Academy based in Pinellas County, withdrew. Plato Academy has tried to open a Pasco County location at least three times since 2009.

[Last modified: Tuesday, October 13, 2015 3:41pm]


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