In the wake of a second scuttled application to open a charter school for families at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base, the Hillsborough County school district signed off on a plan to expand one of its schools on the base.
The withdrawal of the charter application on Monday was the latest setback to an effort for open a charter school at families families who work at the home of U.S. Central Command.
It started last year with strong backing of the base’s commander, whose two-year tenure ended in August. The ensuing saga, in which the district turned away one charter application and was poised to reject another, set off broader discussions about the educational needs of military families, drew the attention of state lawmakers and fanned a debate about charter school governance.
The Hillsborough County School Board closed the book on the latest chapter Tuesday, when it approved an expansion of Tinker Elementary School, which is located on the base.
Supporters of the charter school effort had cited, among other things, a desire for families on the base to have access to a middle school. The plan approved by the board would expand the district’s elementary school to grades K-8.
John Schueler, the president of the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance, was on hand to support the district’s plan. He told the school board after two and a half years of looking for ways to accommodate parents on the base, “we came to a conclusion that we are very supportive of.”
“This has been one of those things that has not been easy, but the conclusion has been satisfactory for the students that will be at the MacDill Air Force Base,” he said.