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Concerns Aired About 5 Charter School Plans

Findings from the Charter Review Committee detail problems with all of the plans for new schools.

The Sarasota County School Board won't make an official decision about this year's charter school applications until November.

But findings from the Charter Review Committee list significant concerns about each of the applications, raising questions about their approval.

This year the board is considering five new charter schools that submitted applications in August. On Sept. 20 the charter review committee provided feedback to the applicants and gave them one week to amend their proposals.

On Oct. 14, the committee submitted its findings to the school board.

Charter Review Committee's Partial Findings:

  1. Threefold Charter School

"The Charter School Review Committee has significant concerns regarding the Threefold Charter School application. Areas of major concern center on the lack of a viable reading program, lack of provision for the state-required reading block, the applicant’s ability to appropriately staff the school with certified teachers, lack of a viable ESE and ESOL plan, a questionable loan program proposal from parents, lack of a facilities plan and an insufficient budget proposal."

    2. Sarasota Charter Academy of Excellence

"Although the Sarasota Charter Academy of Excellence has many good ideas, the Charter Review Committee has ongoing concern regarding many details of the proposal. They include deficiencies in the curriculum design, the school’s relationship to the Educational Service Provider and the proposed budget."

    3. Global Outreach Charter Academy of Sarasota

"The Global Outreach Charter Academy of Sarasota has many good ideas, however the Charter Review Committee has ongoing concern regarding many details of the proposal. They include the curriculum design and proposed budget...

"The proposed budget does not support many areas included in the application. Most notably, the staffing for the ESE program is insufficient, the proposed teacher pay and benefits package is too low to attract qualified and multi-certified teachers, and the levels of service for ELL students is inadequate."

    4. The Learning Place Academy Charter School, K-8

"The Charter Review Committee has ongoing concern regarding the school’s plan to teach reading, the curriculum plan, staffing to meet the needs of ESE and ESOL students, the applicant’s understanding of state requirements for student evaluation and promotion, and the applicant’s budget proposal.

"The curriculum plan does not present a clear and coherent framework for teaching and learning. In addition, the professional development plan is inadequate to reasonably prepare instructional staff for the scope of programs listed as part of the applicant's curriculum plan."

    5. Sarasota School for Social Justice

"The Charter Review Committee has ongoing concern regarding many details of the proposal. They include the curriculum design, services for at-risk students and the proposed budget. The committee is not confident that the applicant has a sufficient understanding of the required benchmarks associated with state courses and the appropriate instructional materials necessary to meet the benchmarks. A list of courses and course descriptions is not presented in the application, and it is unclear as to the specific math courses that will be offered, especially at the high school level, to meet state standards and requirements."

The applicants are invited to a final clarification interview on Oct. 27 to discuss any unresolved issues or concerns of the Charter Review Committee and the School Board.

nancy October 22, 2011 at 01:56 PM
I want more charter schools. We need to have well educated students entering our workforce.
Shawna October 22, 2011 at 08:16 PM
I am sure that the Sarasota County School Board will do their best to make an appropriate decision about the future plans of these charter schools and Sarasota County. As for charter schools, they are not intentionally trying to open a business that is not up to the standards of public schools. Opening and running a charter school is not a way for people to make money. Generally, people who desire to open a charter school are those that believe children deserve to have a great education. We should support the board on mentoring these charter schools to be successful for the sake of the children. We all want the same thing-a fiar education for the sake of our future leaders.
Lynn Berry October 30, 2011 at 04:25 PM
My 16 year old son has attended two "GREAT" charter schools in Sarasota County. Student Leadership Academy in Venice and Sarasota Military Academy in Sarasota. At both schools, my son has flourished because of the excellent set up of academic planning, individualized teacher student time, consistant communication between teachers, staff and parents. The public schools are overwhelmed with class size, the teachers end up disciplining and not teaching and most staffs are so overwhelmed the communication between parents and teachers are minimal. I hope for the good of our youth, the schools are approved.

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