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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco School Board drops fight with Florida Virtual Academy



Suggesting its efforts were likely futile, the Pasco School Board on Tuesday unanimously and reluctantly moved to enter contract talks with Florida Virtual Academy.

The board rejected Florida Virtual Academy's charter proposal in October, citing concerns about investigations and allegations surrounding operator K12 Inc. Those included that the company used uncertified teachers to instruct its online courses in other locations.

The applicant turned to the Florida Charter Schools Appeals Commission, which ruled that the board's rationale was out-of-bounds in that it did not stick strictly to the formal proposal. School Board attorney Dennis Alfonso suggested that the commission's ruling did not bode well if the board continued to press its position with the State Board of Education, which was to consider the appeal in two weeks.

Alfonso asked for the board's guidance. Vice chairwoman Alison Crumbley pointedly asked if the district can deal with its concerns in contract negotiations, to which Alfonso responded that those issues would be up for review. The district must protect itself from any future problems, he said.

With that assurance, board member Joanne Hurley spoke up.

"I still believe our board had very valid concerns," Hurley said. "However I can see if we prolong this … we are in effect going to be wasting our time and taxpayer money to do this. At this time I would be willing to say we just lost this in the appeal process and not take this any farther."

With scowls, her colleagues agreed. They instructed Alfonso to negotiate carefully. He promised to keep them updated as the talks ensue.

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 11:49am]


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