Pinellas School Board to consider closing troubled Imagine charter school

Published Dec. 10, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Pinellas School Board is scheduled to vote on Tuesday about whether to shut down the troubled Imagine Charter School by the end of the year.

In four full years of operation, the school has received three "F" grades and one "D," and it also has landed on a list of the 100 lowest-performing schools in the state.

The charter school at 1950 First Ave. N in St. Petersburg "has been unable to remedy its failures despite extensive assistance from the state and the School Board over a period of years," Pinellas school district officials said in a report distributed to school board members

The school has earned strong support from some parents, but also strong criticism from school board members who say it hasn't proved capable of educating students.

Last summer, then-superintendent John Stewart recommended shutting down the school, but the school board voted 4-3 to give it another chance.

Then in October, Imagine school officials appeared before the board with a new principal and what they said was a new plan for improvement. But school district officials recently wrote that the latest plans failed to outline anything different "from plans it has already tried over the past four academic years."

Under the school district's proposal, Imagine would remain open through June so students and parents have time to decide which school options they want to chose for next year.

The recommendation is for the Imagine elementary school. However a middle school at the same location would be allowed to keep operating.