From a press release issued tonight:
The Florida Charter Educational Foundation, Inc. met today to discuss the best course of action in serving the needs of military families at MacDill Air Force Base. The board voted to withdraw the current appeal being considered by the State Board of Education to open the MacDill Charter Academy on base at MacDill Air Force Base. The board will make revisions and clarifications based on the Charter Schools Appeals Commission’s concerns and resubmit the application in the very near future.
The decision to withdraw the appeal was rooted in the board’s desire to make the process go more smoothly.
“Our goal is to serve the needs of students of our military families as efficiently as possible. To achieve that goal, we decided that the best course of action is to make some minor revisions to the application and resubmit it,” said Ken Haiko, president of the Florida Charter Educational Foundation. “Our proposal is still solid as it stands but if a few clarifications will help the process go more smoothly, in the end, the students will benefit and that’s our focus.”
The new application will be resubmitted as soon as possible and will be sent to the Hillsborough School District. The district then has 60 days from submission to make a decision.
“As a veteran myself, I have a deep concern for these families and will continue to fight for these children,” added Haiko. “At the December 10th Hillsborough School District board meeting, school board members clearly expressed a desire to find a solution. If clarifying certain issues will make that happen, we will focus on the bigger picture, which is helping the 10,000 military families who want another option for their children’s education.”
There are 10,000 active duty personnel stationed at MacDill Air Force Base with approximately 12,000 children and approximately 25,000 children of veterans in the Tampa Bay Area. Education of the children of active duty military service personnel is a key and major quality of life issue for the men and women serving at MacDill Air Force Base. This issue has been addressed in numerous studies and reports published by the Department of Defense and by the US General Accountability Office. Recently, the focus on the military family was reinforced by Admiral William McRaven, head of the Special Operations Command in Tampa, in his remarks to Congress where he stated that one of his priorities is an effort called “Preservation of the Force and Family” which is designed to take care of the mental, physical and spiritual needs of the troops and their families, before, during and after deployment.
A charter school at MacDill Air Force Base will provide the flexibility to develop and design programs to address the significant stresses and social issues that our military children experience by virtue of the numerous moves from school to school required by the reassignment and/or deployment of their parents. The charter school established at MacDill will be able to react quickly, efficiently and decisively to affect changes to address the issues impacting the military students.