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Pasco School Board reluctantly approves charter school

LAND O'LAKES — A proposed charter school does not have a firm location, a local governing board or a transportation plan for its future students. Nor has it obtained nonprofit status.

All of those issues concerned the Pasco School Board. But the board went ahead Tuesday and approved the application by Broward-based Charter Schools USA and Bay Area Charter Foundation, LLC because it met the mandatory criteria under Florida's charter school law.

"I will tell you we should go ahead and approve the application, but I will also tell you that we have a lot of concerns," Pasco schools superintendent Heather Fiorentino said to the board.

Even with Fiorentino's advice, board vice chairman Allen Altman voted against the application.

"Our most successful charter schools are those who are started by people in our community, where the board members consist entirely of members" of the community, Altman said.

Charter Schools USA is working with The Bay Area Charter Foundation, LLC to open the new charter in 2012-13. It plans to serve 862 students in K-6 its first year, eventually expanding to 1,392.

The school would replicate the educational program of Keys Gate Charter School, a K-8 charter school in Homestead that touts its challenging curriculum and educational excellence.

The School Board could later deny the school's contract if board members determine the applicant has not made adjustments to address their concerns.

Jacqueline Baylon can be reached at jbaylon@sptimes.com or at (727) 869-6247.

Pasco School Board reluctantly approves charter school 10/04/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 8:24pm]

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