Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando charter school for at-risk takes shape

BROOKSVILLE — There were a few pointed questions Tuesday, but also encouraging signs for the backers of what could become Hernando County's second charter school.

The School Board agreed to accept a revised application by Oct. 1 from Fort Lauderdale-based Mavericks in Education to open a 400-student public charter school that would focus on high school dropouts and at-risk students.

A district review committee last month found several potentially fatal problems in the company's initial application, including insufficient staffing and vague plans for reading and special-needs instruction. The district also questioned the school's budget controls and funding projections.

But Diane Rowden, a county commissioner and president of the applicant's local board of directors, said the company would go "above and beyond" those issues to make sure its revised application met with board approval.

"We'll give you a budget you're comfortable with," added Mavericks CEO Mark Thimmig.

Financial matters are of particular interest to the district, since the for-profit management company will take in 97 percent of each student's more than $6,000 in state and local funds after paying an up-front service fee of 5 percent to the district.

That leaves just 3 percent under the control of the local governing board for the nonprofit school, said David Schoelles, a member of the review committee.

"We did not see where the governing board would have adequate control over the expenditures of the school," he said.

But Thimmig said those funds covered "every single aspect" of running the school, and added up to less than what the district would spend to teach the same students.

Several board members praised the performance of the county's first charter, Gulf Coast Academy, but said they were concerned about the potential for the new school to lure away too many enrolled students and their funding.

Member Dianne Bonfield wondered aloud whether the school's enrollment could be restricted to students who have left school, but board attorney J. Paul Carland said state law might not permit it. Charter schools are public entities that operate under independent rules, but generally must accept all applicants.

Thimmig said he hoped the school and district would enjoy a "collaborative, cooperative and not competitive" relationship.

"If kids are succeeding, we don't think they should go anywhere else," he added. "(But) we feel there ought to be a door open to those students without first dropping out."

And board member Jim Malcolm echoed superintendent Wayne Alexander in suggesting that the school might one day replace the district's STAR Academy, which teaches students who might otherwise drop out or be expelled.

"I wouldn't want to preclude a partnership of doing what we do at STAR," Malcolm said, describing that program's annual $2-million cost as a "heavy budget expense for us."

Tom Marshall can be reached at tmarshall@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1431.

Hernando charter school for at-risk takes shape 09/02/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 2, 2008 8:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Deputies: Tampa man killed after car strikes tree

    Accidents

    TOWN 'N COUNTRY — A 24-year-old man was killed early Sunday after he lost control of his car, causing it to hit a pine tree.

  2. O.J. Simpson had a 'conflict-free life'? Not really, not in Florida

    Nation

    LOS ANGELES — When O.J. Simpson told a Nevada parole board last week that he's led a "conflict-free life," he seemed to overlook a few episodes that had him cycling in and out of courtrooms and jail cells for nearly 20 years before the Las Vegas hotel-room heist that sent him to prison in 2008.

    Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson appears via video for his parole hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017.  Simpson was granted parole Thursday after more than eight years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel heist, successfully making his case in a nationally televised hearing that reflected America's enduring fascination with the former football star.  [The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP]
  3. Baby Charlie protesters to rally as hospital reports threats

    World

    LONDON — Protesters who want critically ill British baby Charlie Gard to receive an experimental medical treatment are planning a rally and prayer vigil Sunday, while hospital officials say emotions are running so high in the heart-breaking case they have received death threats.

    Reverend Patrick Mahoney from Washington DC, centre, speaks to the media outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, as he joins other Charlie Gard supporters, Sunday July 23, 2017. Protesters who want critically ill British baby Charlie Gard to receive an experimental medical treatment gathered for a rally and prayer vigil Sunday, while hospital officials say emotions are running so high in the heart-breaking case they have received death threats. [Associated Press]