Rowlett teachers, parents OK charter school conversion in landslide vote

June 10, 2013 

Parents, their children and Rowlett Elementary staff members applaud as a running tally of ballot votes being counted Monday evening surpasses the majority needed to convert the school from a public school to a charter school. Two sets of ballots were counted Monday - one for teachers at the school, and another one for eligible adult parents of Rowlett students. PAUL VIDELA/Bradenton Herald

BRADENTON -- Rowlett Elementary School parents and teachers voted overwhelmingly Monday night to approve a conversion to a charter school by the 2014-15 school year.

A majority vote by teachers and parents was required to make the conversion from public magnet school to charter school.

Teachers approved the move 57-4 in favor of converting to a charter school. A total of 645 parents were eligible to vote and 502 voted with 252 needed to carry the issue.

A huge cheer erupted when the magic number was surpassed.

"If we become a charter, we will be able to take control of our budget," said parent Erin Novarro. "Based on the allocations we have been given it is our belief that our special programs such as dance, drama, art, P.E., music and computers will be cut. We wanted to keep Rowlett -- Rowlett."

The next move is to submit an application to the Manatee School Board by Aug. 1 to become a charter school. The school district will have 60 days to OK the application.

If the school board rejects the application, Rowlett would have 30 days to appeal to the state Department of Education, which would have 10 days to rule on the appeal.

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