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Superintendent recommends denying two charter schools

Pinellas school Superintendent Howard Hinesley is recommending that charter school applications for two programs _ the Marcus Garvey Academy and the Bay Village Center for Education _ be denied.

District lawyers said earlier this week that they were concerned that both applications violate the settlement the School Board has reached with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to end nearly 30 years of court-ordered busing for desegregation.

Hinesley's recommendations are included in the School Board's agenda packet for its meeting at 1 p.m. Tuesday. The board meets at the administration building, 301 Fourth St. SW, in Largo.

The lead attorney for the Legal Defense Fund, Enrique Escarraz, has objected to both applications. Hinesley has said he would defer "one hundred percent" to Escarraz's objections.

The National People's Democratic Uhuru Movement applied to open the Marcus Garvey Academy. District officials and Escarraz object to this academy for several reasons, one being that it would violate federal court restrictions on the percentage of black students in a single school.

Omali Yeshitela, the group's chairman, said this week he will appeal if the application is denied.

The founding board of the Bay Village Center, which includes St. Petersburg City Council member Larry Williams, also disputes a denial recommendation.

One of the reasons for the recommendation is that the settlement does not allow the creation of new fundamental schools until at least 2007, and district officials say Bay Village would be a fundamental school. Williams said it would be a traditional school.

Applicants can appeal to the state if turned down.