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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco officials near decisions on charter school applicants



A charter school aimed at serving low-income elementary students at risk of dropping out appears headed toward approval to open in Pasco County. An application by Tampa-based Pepin Academies, which serves students with special needs, meanwhile has not received a favorable recommendation to expand into Pasco.

School Board members will consider on Tuesday whether to approve Learning Lodge Academy for a charter, which would allow the applicants to then enter contract negotiations for the 2014-15 school year. The school is proposed by Kerrie Cuffe, a math coach at Hudson Elementary School. She proposes to serve up to 252 students in kindergarten through third grade in the first year, with plans to grow to 464 students by 2017.

The school would serve high levels of Title I students, using the Kagan Cooperative Learning model of instruction, which has small groups of students working together to achieve a common goal.

The Pepin Academies have aimed to enter Pasco County since the spring. It initially tried to win approval to open this fall, but did not meet application deadlines. It then applied to begin in the next school year.

Assistant superintendent Amelia Larson said the application had several deficiencies in areas such as its financial plan, and it did not meet district criteria for approval. Superintendent Kurt Browning has not put a formal recommendation before the School Board yet, while waiting to hear how Pepin Academies wants to proceed. It could ask the School Board to vote, or withdraw and resubmit next year.

Calls to Pepin Academies were not returned.

A third charter application, by Kiddy Up Ranch, also is under review by the district.

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 1:37pm]


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