8 New Charter Schools in Works; If All Open for 2012-13 School Year, Duval Will Have Its Most Ever

By Sanders, Topher | The Florida Times Union, November 25, 2011 | Go to article overview

8 New Charter Schools in Works; If All Open for 2012-13 School Year, Duval Will Have Its Most Ever


Sanders, Topher, The Florida Times Union


Byline: Topher Sanders

When the 2012-13 school year begins, Duval County Public Schools will have the most charter schools in its history.

Eight new charter schools are schedule to open their doors next year and are aiming to attract another 3,200 students to the Duval charter system. District officials think the schools will only attract about two-thirds of their desired numbers.

There are now about 5,000 students in the district's 18 charter schools. Charter schools are run independently of the school district but receive the same per-pupil state funding as other public schools in the county.

The flood of charter schools continues a three-year trend in the county.

"It really has ramped up," said Susan Biehler, the district's supervisor of charter schools. "I don't see the trend changing in the next couple of years."

This year the district received its largest pool of charter applications with 15. In the past three years, it has received 37 applications to open schools.

Many of those are recommended for denial based on poor financial plans or lacking a facility to house the schools.

The charter schools scheduled to open next year have a diverse range of focuses. Several are geared toward students who have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out, two are single-gender models, two carry nationally renowned brands and two others will focus on leadership.

Olatunji Williams, the principal of Somerset Academy Eagle Campus' elementary and middle school, will also sit on the board of the two new Ivy Prep schools, one of which will be all girls and the other all boys. …

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