Except in Jacksonville, we haven’t met a charter we didn’t like.
From the Orlando Sentinel’s school zone
by Lauren Roth
Later this month the Orange school board plans to vote up or down on the last four of 23 charter applications for fall 2012.
Even if some or all of those applications are approved, most of the original 23 will have failed or been withdrawn. So far, the school board has rejected 8 applications. Nine have been withdrawn, a frequent consequence after applicants realize their plan is likely to fall short. Two were approved (Orlando Science Elementary and Mavericks High). Only the four set to be considered Dec. 13 remain. They are Sunshine High School for Accelerated Learning – Greater Orlando Campus, Pinecrest Creek Academy, Somerset Virtual Academy and Somerset Virtual Academy Charter Middle/High School. (The first is from the company that runs Aloma, Chancery and Sheeler high schools, the rest would be managed by Academica).
The newfound caution in approving charters appears to be a result of a bad year for charters in Orange County.
Imani Elementary Charter Academy was shut down by the board last spring after numerous problems were uncovered in their governance, finances and academic performance. Over the summer the board closed the last remaining location of Summit Charter School for financial mismanagement. And at the same meeting, the board accepted the voluntary closure of DaVinci Charter School, which had managed to attract only a dozen students.
At the hearings for this year’s charter applications, board chairman Bill Sublette asked each applicant to accept accountability measures in their contracts. Most agreed, but district staff recommended rejecting most applicants for having low standards, inadequate financial checks or a weak governing structure, frequent problems in schools that fail.