Three charter schools set sights on Hillsborough
Three more charter schools are up for approval in Hillsborough County, backed by names that are familiar in charter school circles.
The Collaboratory, a planned K-8 school that would serve central Tampa with an emphasis on math, technology and the arts, has Trey Traviesa and Suzanne Legg on its founding board.
Traviesa, now a consultant, is a former state lawmaker who became a proponent of charter schools. Legg is the wife of former legislator John Legg. She and her husband were co-founders of Dayspring Academy for the Education and the Arts, a successful charter school venture in Pasco County. In fact, the Tampa school will be a replication of Dayspring.
The school will open with 162 students, with a seven-year enrollment goal of 546, according to the application that comes up for approval at Tuesday's School Board meeting.
Kid's Community College, a group of schools in southeast Hillsborough, plans a middle school with an International Baccalaureate curriculum. The new school would serve graduates of an existing KCC IB elementary school in Riverview. KCC also operates another K-8 charter school elsewhere in Riverview. The group has been approved for a high school as well, although that school has yet to open. The growth of KCC is happening despite a conflict with the school district over governance and monetary collections from parents, which lasted more than two years. The two sides began to work toward a resolution in 2015, not long after Jeff Eakins replaced MaryEllen Elia as superintendent.
Also up for approval is ICan Lighthouse Charter Academy, a year-round school that would serve low-income students in the Plant City area. Heading up ICan's board is Zenobia Cann, who was also the registered agent for W.E. Phillips charter school in Seffner. The Phillips school closed in 2014 because of low enrollment.
The ICan school plans to open with 326 students in grades K-5, reaching an enrollment of 546 in its fifth year.
Six schools applied in this year's Hillsborough cycle. At last count, the district had 41 schools, serving 8.4 percent of the district's 212,844 students. More schools have been approved but have not yet opened, most often because of trouble finding locations.