Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco School Board drops challenge to Florida Virtual Academy

LAND O'LAKES — The Pasco County School Board on Tuesday reluctantly dropped its fight to keep a virtual charter school from opening in the county.

Board members turned down the Florida Virtual Academy's bid for a charter back in October, noting that the school's management company K12 Inc. was in the middle of a state investigation over questionable teacher hiring practices. They cited several other concerns related to K12's operations around the country as rationale for their denial for a second straight year.

Several other Florida districts also turned down the group's charter application.

Florida Virtual Academy (which is separate from Florida Virtual School) took Pasco's decision to the state Charter School Appeal Commission, which found in favor of the charter. Pasco School Board attorney Dennis Alfonso told the board on Tuesday that the commission took a dim view of the rejection because it focused on issues not directly related to the application.

He asked if the board wanted to take its chances with the Florida Board of Education when it meets March 19 to consider the appeal, given the commission's recommendation.

School Board vice chairwoman Alison Crumbley was instantly skeptical. She noted that her reluctance to support the charter dealt with such matters as uncertified teachers and subpar academic standards.

"Are these issues fair game for the contract process?" Crumbley asked.

Alfonso assured her that the negotiations would aim to protect the district from future problems such as those other districts experienced.

"I am optimistic we can address the concerns in the contract," Alfonso said.

With that, board member Joanne Hurley proposed that the district end its opposition to the charter, and begin contract talks with the online course provider.

"I still believe our board had very valid concerns. However I can see if we prolong this … we are in effect going to be wasting our time and taxpayer money to do this," Hurley said. "At this time I would be willing to say we just lost this in the appeal process and not take this any further."

The board's other option was to continue fighting the application, which could end up in court, as it has with the Seminole school district's rejection of the group.

Board members scowled as they supported Hurley's motion, and then repeated instructions that Alfonso be as tough as possible while setting contract terms. He said he would keep them informed as the details emerge.

"We're pleased that the district board has prudently decided to proceed," Paul Hull, chairman of the Southwest Florida Virtual School Board, said via email. "Their wise decision is good for families who want this public school option."

He said he expected successful contract negotiations leading to a high quality virtual education option for Pasco families.

"Our board will of course ensure that our educational provider utilizes high-quality, certified instructors in making this innovative educational experience an outstanding one for Pasco residents who avail themselves of it," he said.

Pasco School Board drops challenge to Florida Virtual Academy 03/05/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 7:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Why are so few Tampa Bay houses for sale? They're being rented

    Real Estate

    Oreste Mesa Jr. owns a modest 40-year-old house in West Tampa just off MacDill Avenue. It's an area where many homeowners are hearing the siren song of builders and cashing out while the market is strong.

    Attorney David Eaton poses in front of his rental home at 899 72nd Ave. North. in St. Petersburg. He's among a growing number of property owners who see more value in renting out unused homes than selling them. 
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. In a word, Hernando school leaders say, first day was 'smooth'

    K12

    Over and over on Monday, school district leaders used the same word to describe the unfolding of the first day of school in Hernando County.

    "Smooth."

    Third-graders Teagan Ferguson, left, and Brianna DeLaine deliver attendance figures to the office at J.D. Floyd Elementary School on Monday. Superintendent Lori Romano and other district administrators toured a handful of schools and classrooms throughout the day,
  3. Looking Back: Diana, America's Princess

    Celebrities

    The Washington Post, in her obituary, called her "the most photographed woman in the world." She was loved in England for saying, after her divorce from Prince Charles, "I'd like to be a queen of people's hearts." Americans loved her for her work with charitable causes supporting victims of AIDS and landmines. Aug. 31 …

    Prince Charles and Princess Diana on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on their wedding day.

(AP Photo)
  4. Rays morning after: 5 mistakes that led to loss to Blue Jays

    Blogs

    We've already documented elsewhere what the Rays didn't do, how they failed to take advantage of a prime opportunity to win Wednesday's game, getting just one run after loading the bases in the seventh with one out and three of …

    Jake Faria make too many mistakes, the failure to execute costing him repeatedly.
  5. Unborn baby dies, two critically injured in Largo crash

    Accidents

    LARGO — Two people were critically injured and an unborn baby was killed in a crash that shut down an intersection on Ulmerton Road late Wednesday night, the Florida Highway Patrol said.