Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

MacDill group withdraws request to open charter school

TAMPA — A group that wants to open a charter school at MacDill Air Force Base has dropped its request, but says it will try again.

Florida Charter Educational Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works closely with for-profit Charter Schools USA of Fort Lauderdale, has been at odds with the Hillsborough school district since December, when the staff and School Board rejected its proposal to open a K-8 school on the base.

Backers of the plan, including base personnel, wanted military children who live outside MacDill to have access to a school on the base. Tinker Elementary, which is on the base, does not have enough room for children whose families commute.

They also were concerned about middle school students who now can attend either Monroe Middle in South Tampa or magnet schools throughout the district.

But district officials had questions about the school's governance structure and whether its educational plan fit its stated mission. Based on those arguments, a state advisory committee sided with the district.

Foundation president Ken Haiko said that, as a military veteran, he will do what it takes to get the proposal in acceptable shape.

"Our goal is to serve the needs of students of our military families as efficiently as possible," Haiko said in a statement Thursday.

"To achieve that goal, we decided that the best course of action is to make some minor revisions to the application and resubmit it."

Students will benefit "if a few clarifications will help the process go more smoothly," he added.

Issues raised by the district include the relationship between the foundation and Charter Schools USA, which is almost entirely owned by Jonathan Hage, a supporter of and contributor to Gov. Rick Scott.

By law, charter schools are supposed to benefit children and not businesses, making it important to have an arms-length relationship between a school and its paid managers.

In arguing its case, the district used foundation meeting minutes that show Scott referred MacDill officials to Charter Schools USA, which became involved before the foundation did.

Marlene Sokol can be reached at (813) 226-3356 or

MacDill group withdraws request to open charter school 03/06/14 [Last modified: Thursday, March 6, 2014 11:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  2. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case


    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.
  5. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101