Volusia Charter School Applicant Withdraws

The last of three groups hoping to open charter schools in Volusia County next year is withdrawing its proposal.

By Linda Trimblelinda.trimble@news-jrnl.com

DELAND — The last of three groups hoping to open charter schools in Volusia County next year is withdrawing its proposal before the School Board could vote on a staff recommendation that it be rejected.

“We want to be in counties where our model is wanted,” said Gary Iker, executive director of schools for Pivot Charter Schools, which operates in three Florida counties and recently was approved to open a fourth campus next year in Palm Beach County.

Pivot, which offers a blend of online and face-to-face instruction, had hoped to open a school in Deltona next year that ultimately would serve more than 400 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

The Volusia staff review found Pivot’s proposal fully met standards in only six of 19 areas reviewed as part of a state-required model application and evaluation process. The School Board was scheduled to vote on recommendation to reject the application when it meets at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the School Administrative Complex, 200 N. Clara Ave., but Iker said Friday he’ll withdraw the proposal before then.

“Pivot Charter School is a duplication of what Volusia County schools has done and continues to do for its students in blended learning environments,” the staff review states. “There is a concern that this charter school does not fill a unique niche and would have difficulty attaining the projected population numbers.”

Charter schools, which are public schools operated by private groups under contracts with the School Board, are free from many of the state regulations binding traditional public schools as a way of encouraging educational innovation. They receive state funding, so students do not pay tuition.

The School Board rejected another charter application two weeks ago from a group that wanted to open an arts-related school in Edgewater.

A third applicant recently withdrew its proposal after the Volusia staff recommended the School Board reject it.

Acclaim Academy had applied to open a military school in the Deltona area similar to ones it operates in Kissimmee and Jacksonville.

Dennis Mope, executive director of operations for Acclaim Academy, said his group plans to reapply in Volusia next year.

“We take the application review process very seriously,” said Alicia Parker, assistant director of program evaluation and accountability for Volusia schools. “It’s important to us that it is thorough and rigorous if we’re going to have a charter in our district.”

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Source : http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/20131006/volusia-charter-school-applicant-withdraws

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