Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dayspring Academy and Imagine School seek to expand enrollment

LAND O'LAKES — Two Pasco County charter schools are asking permission to expand their enrollments in preparation for the 2011-12 academic year.

The Pasco school district staff partially supports the proposal submitted by Dayspring Academy in Port Richey and opposes the one filed by Imagine School at Land O'Lakes.

Representatives from both charter schools plan to attend the School Board's meeting Tuesday to make the case for their requests.

"I will certainly be responding," Imagine School principal Kathy Helean said.

Imagine School has proposed increasing its maximum student population to 650 from its current 548.

In the past, the Pasco County Commission has raised concerns about the school's traffic at its current location, an office complex on State Road 54 west of Sunlake Boulevard. As a result, the commission approved a capacity of no more than 624 students.

That approval came too late for the School Board, though, which over the summer denied Imagine's request to grow to that level.

Looking ahead, the district has another concern about letting the charter school expand: Its current enrollment slide. Imagine School had 467 students in its February state head count, down from 484 in October and well below the 548 it can accept.

"Nothing we have says they can meet capacity," superintendent Heather Fiorentino said, adding that the school has not made improvements to traffic patterns, either.

Helean said she could understand some of the district's concerns with the existing school site.

"But we are in a temporary location," she said. "We are building a new school across the street on Sunlake Boulevard."

The new 38-classroom campus would have plenty of space for a larger student body once it opens in October, she said. It also would be more attractive to new students, she added.

"It's hard to increase enrollment when you continue to be at a temporary site," Helean said.

Dayspring Academy, which has lengthy waiting lists, has not had trouble attracting students. It added a third kindergarten class a couple of years ago, and each year has added an extra class at the grade level those children are moving into.

Its request this year is to expand its third grade.

Fiorentino said the district has no problem with that.

"They have the capacity. They have everything needed," she said. "We don't have any reason we can say no."

The part of Dayspring's application that troubles the district staff is its request to allow 18 students in its prekindergarten program direct access to the K-8 school without going through a lottery for admission.

"We'd like to keep the families together," Dayspring administrator Suzanne Legg said. "If we're serving their needs in K-8, we'd like to be able to serve them in pre-k."

Pre-k is not included in the school's current charter contract with the district.

School Board members denied this idea in December, saying that they did not want to set a precedent for other schools that have preschools that do not feed into their kindergarten program. District staffers also pointed to state law requiring that charter schools run a lottery for all students who apply for open seats.

Dayspring's proposal could fill all its kindergarten seats without ever opening it to general admission.

Legg said the school's goal was to provide a seamless curriculum to students beginning with pre-k, if possible. She said if there were more children in the pre-k program than there were kindergarten seats, the school would have a lottery for those students.

"We're going to be looking closer at the statutes," she said, adding that Dayspring officials have been in contact with the Florida Department of Education for guidance. "We are hoping to get some clarification."

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at

Dayspring Academy and Imagine School seek to expand enrollment 02/24/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 24, 2011 8:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.