Pasco school board considers new policy for charter school application review
The Pasco County School Board is considering a change to the way district staff reviews charter school proposals.
The recommended policy amendments come less than three months after the board criticized the administration's handling of Pepin Academy's application to open in the county. Superintendent Kurt Browning called for approval of the charter after noting several deficiencies in the school's proposal, then giving Pepin time to respond that no other applicant ever had received.
If accepted, the new policy would adopt Browning's preferred method of seeking answers to district concerns before a final decision is rendered. It makes clear that an applicant would have seven days to offer explanations after receiving notification of problems within a charter application. The clarifications and corrections would have to be non-substantive, and not complete revisions.
This issue takes on even greater significance in light of moves in the Florida Legislature to create a uniform charter school contract, because it would place even more importance on the negotiations that take place over the charter application. Many district school boards have reluctantly approved charters in the past, with the understanding that problems and concerns would be ironed out in contract talks. That ability would largely disappear.
Pasco's policy has not yet gone to the board for official action. The first reading and public hearing could come as early as Feb. 4