Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Board, KIPP to Talk Performance; Its Existing Charter School Got an 'F' - Now It's Seeking OK to Open More

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Board, KIPP to Talk Performance; Its Existing Charter School Got an 'F' - Now It's Seeking OK to Open More

Article excerpt

Byline: Topher Sanders

KIPP wants to open more charter schools in Jacksonville, but Duval County School Board is going to do something state law does not: consider KIPP's current performance before giving the OK.

School Board members want KIPP Jacksonville officials to explain how they will improve their middle school's F grade and reassure the board that two new schools they wish to open won't perform as poorly.

The charter school organization received a recommendation from school district administration for the board to approve the creation of two elementary charter schools, but board members postponed a vote on the applications last week because KIPP's lone local school received an F from the state.

The state's model for approving charter schools does not take into account the performance of schools in the state or school district being run by a charter organization. In fact, the state's law on charter school approval is silent on whether districts can consider the current performance of a school being run by a charter organization.

State officials refused to answer whether Duval could take into account the KIPP school's performance because of the potential for an appeal.

Board member Tommy Hazouri voted against the delay and said he would have voted against KIPP's applications as well.

"I still find it very difficult to vote for two more schools when their first school, which got all these praises, is an F," Hazouri said.

Tom Majdanics, executive director of KIPP Jacksonville, said he wasn't surprised by last week's decision.

"The School Board is taking their role as authorizers seriously and we look forward to informing them on what we're doing," Majdanics said.

Majdanics said School Board Chairman W.C. Gentry has already invited KIPP officials to the board's workshop on Tuesday.

"If they want more data above and beyond what is in the charter application, we're delighted to give it to them," he said.

To improve its school grade, instructors are spending more time on literacy during the school's extended day period and giving small group instruction to its most struggling students. …

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