Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Charter School Decisions Loom

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Charter School Decisions Loom

Article excerpt

The issue of charter schools will again take center stage at tonight's Duval County School Board meeting.

The board is being asked to take action regarding four charter schools, but there will likely also be discussion concerning an idea from member Stan Jordan.

Charter schools are funded with tax dollars and open to all, but they are run by non-profit groups that are free from many of the rules imposed on traditional public schools.

School boards must approve the creation of charter schools, but Duval County has been wary to do so since it closed Impact Academy in January. The charter high school was closed because of severe management and financial problems.

Jordan plans to put forth a proposal to allow the school system to work cooperatively with future charter schools.

Charter school applicants now file their proposals without much communication from school system staff. Most of the discussions focus on budget and financial questions.

Jordan suggests that Duval County assemble a proposal to identify its needs and list where a charter school could open and best serve the demands of the school system. Charter school applicants would not be required to implement the suggestions.

"That is how we make the charter schools a blessing rather than a curse," Jordan said.

While Jordan's suggestion is only for discussion, the School Board is expected to take action regarding four charter schools. School system staff are asking the board to:

-- Approve a charter school contract for Destiny Educational Academy of Excellence. The school is designed for elementary students and proposes an extended day by offering instruction from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

-- Approve allowing Cornerstone Academy to open in August 2001, instead of 2000. This is to allow the school additional time to secure funding for a facility.

-- Decline conditional approval to Love for Learning Academy. While the School Board vetoed the application in February, the issue is before it again because the charter applicant won an appeal to the state Cabinet.

Still, attorneys for the school system recommend declining the application because the school's management is dominated by clergy from Truth for Living Ministries and because the proposed school is to be constructed on church property with public funds. …

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