A Florida school board has denied the application for a charter school at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, even as board members said they support the military families it would serve.
“I would very much like to see MacDill have their charter school one day,” said Hillsborough County School Board member Stacy White, who was among the unanimous vote to reject the school.
“We are at odds about the governance,” added fellow board member Doretha Edgecomb. “But we are not at odds about doing our very best for our students and their families.”
District Superintendent MaryEllen Elia made the final recommendation to the board to deny the proposal, following staff concerns that the application didn’t explain clearly who was in charge of the school. She said she wanted to work with the base, the home of U.S. Central Command, and called for a task force to study concerns that prompted the push for a charter.
“The long-standing working relationship we’ve had with MacDill is important,” she said, noting the district already provides services to military families through an A-rated elementary school located on the base. “I think clearly we need to work to resolve these issues to move forward.”
Supporters of the charter school said they plan to meet and discuss the possibility of appealing to the state Board of Education. In Florida, school boards serve as authorizers of charter schools in their districts, but the law allows the Board of Education, which is appointed by the governor, to overturn denials.
“I think quite frankly that the superintendent has shown this has become a turf war,” said Ken Haiko, chairman of the Florida Charter Educational Foundation, a nonprofit volunteer board which applied for the charter. Continue Reading →