Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco School Board denies K12 charter school application

LAND O'LAKES — Despite an expected challenge, the Pasco County School Board on Tuesday denied a virtual charter school application from a group that is under investigation.

Board members said concerns raised over K12 Inc. operations by the Florida Department of Education and the Securities and Exchange Commission created enough "cause" for them to turn down a charter request by a group that would contract with the group to run Florida Virtual Academy of Pasco County for a second straight year.

"Events and occurrences outside give me pause to where I don't believe we should approve this application," board chair Joanne Hurley said.

Hurley noted the state is looking into allegations that other K12 programs used uncertified teachers; and she said the NCAA has stopped accepting online course credits that college athletes earned from a K12 subsidiary, citing concerns over that program's standards.

The problems appeared severe enough to warrant overruling the district staff recommendation to approve the application, said board member Alison Crumbley, who made the motion to deny.

"They are very serious concerns … that need to be resolved … before the students in Pasco County are exposed to this," Crumbley said.

Paul Hull, chairman of the Southwest Florida Virtual Charter School Board formally proposing the school, expressed disappointment that the Pasco School Board would overrule its staff. He said the group would pursue all available paths to make programs available in Pasco.

"We've been looking forward to working with the school district to provide students this innovative educational option that is both needed and wanted," Hull said via email. "While virtual instruction isn't for everybody, for some it's very important, and its time has come."

Board members Cynthia Armstrong and Steve Luikart initially suggested the better course of action would be to approve the charter and then get tough when negotiating a contract.

"Right now, it's my feeling to prevent a possible lawsuit, we're backed in. They did dot their i's and they did cross their t's," Luikart said. "We can put some teeth into the contract end of things."

Crumbley offered that the board might delay action on the application until K12 has a chance to resolve its issues. But assistant superintendent Renalia DuBose told the board that the applicant insisted on a vote within the state-mandated 60-day response time frame. A decision had to be made. After hearing Armstrong and Luikart speak, Hurley said that while the application might be legally sufficient, that wasn't good enough. "I stand with Mrs. Crumbley," she said, turning the tide to outright denial.

Board member Allen Altman was absent.

Pasco followed in the footsteps of the Marion County School Board, which last week rejected a Florida Virtual Academy charter there, citing the same concerns. The only difference there was that Marion's superintendent encouraged the board to turn the charter down.

Other school districts also have denied Florida Virtual Academy applications, only to see their decisions overturned.

The State Board of Education, which has signaled its support for virtual schooling and charters, told the Palm Beach school district in July that it must allow a K12 virtual charter to open despite local officials' rejection of the application.

Palm Beach district officials called K12's application flawed.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at, (813) 909-4614 or on Twitter @jeffsolochek.

Pasco School Board denies K12 charter school application 10/02/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 8:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays DFA Danny Farquhar to make room for Brad Boxberger


    The Rays continued shuffling their bullpen, dumping RHP Danny Farquhar after Wednesday's game to make room for RHP Brad Boxberger to be activated off the DL.

    Farquhar, who worked an inning in Wednesday's 6-2 loss, had a 2-2, 4.11 record for 37 appearances, working primarily in lower leverage situations. In …

  2. USF to face Indiana in men's basketball next season


    The USF men's basketball team will get an early test from a Big Ten powerhouse next season.

  3. Rays employee helps save suicidal woman near Pirates stadium


    A Rays front-office employee joined umpire John Tumpane in saving a woman threatening to jump from a bridge near PNC Park on Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

    Multimedia production manager Mike Weinman, 32, was walking across the Roberto Clemente Bridge with Rays broadcasting director Larry McCabe when he …

  4. Blake Snell struggles in return as Rays fall to Pirates

    The Heater


    Blake Snell talked a good game ahead of his return to the Rays rotation Wednesday night, but he didn't pitch one.

    The Pirates’ David Freese scores on a Blake Snell wild pitch during the first inning against the Rays.
  5. College World Series title puts Florida Gators in elite company


    The Florida Gators put themselves in rare company with Tuesday night's College World Series national championship victory.

    Florida ace and Tampa native Alex Faedo (21) lets loose with his teammates after they win the Gators’ first baseball national title.