Hernando school officials deny Chehuntamo charter school on second try

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times Michael Maynard
BRENDAN FITTERER | Times Michael Maynard
Published April 25, 2018

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School Board on Tuesday denied the 2019 opening of Chehuntamo Advanced Performance High School, a charter school proposed by the same group that applied once before in 2017.

The team behind the school, said to be for "academically advanced" students from Hernando and Pasco counties, previously withdrew an application after a November meeting where they were unable to answer questions posed by School Board members.

Michael Maynard, proposed chairman of Chehuntamo, said at the time that he would "absolutely" be back to try again. He made another presentation to officials Tuesday, following a recommendation by Angela Kennedy, district supervisor of school choice, that the board deny his application.

"By a vote of 14-1, the (charter school) committee has recommended denial of the application," Kennedy told the board, noting budget calculation errors, missing documents and the submission of additional paperwork after the district's deadline had passed.

Of 19 sections used to evaluate proposed charter schools, the plan for Chehuntamo only fully met seven. Nine were rated as "partially meets the standard" and three as "does not meet the standard."

Officials listened wide-eyed, at times shaking their heads, as Maynard told them how his school could fill the gaps left in Hernando schools.

"It will get done," he said. "In the meantime, I feel bad for all the kids who will miss out."

Board Chairman Mark Johnson replied sharply: "Can you please keep your remarks to the application and stop disparaging what we do?"

Board member Beth Narverud called Maynard's comments about the school district's inability to serve advanced students "degrading."

Board member Linda Prescott pointed to typographical errors in Maynard's application, to which he replied that "it costs a lot of money for editors."

Maynard told the board he will be back a third time — and more times than that, if that's what it takes to open Chehuntamo.

"One way or another, this is going to get done," he said. "If it takes me until next year or the year after, I'm not going to quit."

Contact Megan Reeves at Follow @mareevs.

>>>PREVIOUS COVERAGE:>Team behind proposed charter school for "academically advanced" carry checkered pasts

>>>PREVIOUS COVERAGE:>After withdrawing application, Hernando charter school team says it will be back

>>>PREVIOUS COVERAGE:>Hernando charter school group reapplies with revised plan