Pinellas approves several charter applications
The Pinellas County School Board signed off Tuesday on three charter applications and denied a fourth.
Board members voted unanimously in favor of applications for Academy By the Sea, Plato Academy South, and East Windsor Middle Academy. That doesn't mean the charters are going to open. It just moves them to the next step in the process, which will be negotiating a charter with the school district.
A fourth application, for Pinellas Charter School of Science and Technology, was turned down, as had been recommended by district staff. District officials recommended the first three for approval.
East Windsor is looking to serve 264 students in middle school in its first year, the 2014/15 school year. Plato Academy South would be the seventh Plato Academy to open in Pinellas. It doesn't have a location yet. It would serve students in Kindergarten to eighth grade, with a maximum enrollment of 728 students.
Academy By the Sea is a proposed Montessori school, which would seek to serve Montessori students coming from two private schools, Montessori By the Sea and Alegria Montessori, and Gulfport Elementary's magnet Montessori program.
All three of the proposed charters have work to do before they would be given a charter, district officials said. Those issues are stated in the district's evaluation of their applications. Once a charter has been negotiated, the School Board would then vote on whether to give final approval.
Charter schools have been a growing force in Pinellas County. Some parents are seeking alternatives to troubled neighborhood schools, while others find it difficult to get a spot in the popular fundamental or magnet schools.