School choice in Manatee County provides an opportunity for parents to select a school that best meets the educational needs of their child.
Options include public schools, magnet schools, academies and charter schools. There also are private schools and home education.
The Manatee County school district is home to more than 42,000 students and about 5,300 full-time employees.
The superintendent is responsible for the district’s day-to-day operation; the five-member school board governs the district.
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The board and district oversee 34 elementary schools, 10 middle schools and seven high schools and one alternative high school.
A magnet school is a public school within the school district. Each magnet school has a theme or instructional approach, including global studies, advanced technology and communications and creative arts.
And, three schools — Southeast High, Johnson Middle and Wakeland Elementary — are offering International Baccalaureate courses.
Charter schools are public schools of choice. They are very popular and among the fastest growing school choice options in the state.
Manatee has agreements with seven charter schools, some with multiple campuses. Parents can apply directly to schools.
Also under the purview of the Manatee County school district is the Manatee Technical Institute.
A good source for information about school choice in the county is the Parent Information Center at 234 Manatee Ave. E., Bradenton.
For other questions, parents may visit www.manatee.k12.fl.us or call the public schools administrative offices at (941) 708-8770.
Elementary: 8:30 a.m.-3:05 p.m. Wednesday dismissal is 1:15 p.m.
Middle: 9:15 a.m.-3:55 p.m. Wednesday dismissal is 2:10 p.m.
High: 7:45 a.m.-2:20 p.m. Wednesday dismissal is 12:30 p.m.
Students are expected to be appropriately dressed for school, and some school have their own uniforms. A school’s principal is the main enforcer of dress code.
To find out which school requires a uniform, visit www.manatee.k12.fl.us/students/dress_code.html.
Each school, in addition to its administrators and faculty, has a School Advisory Council that includes representatives from the staff, the community and parents. There is also a network of Parent Teacher Organizations.
To find out how to participate or to volunteer in schools, talk to a principal or call the district’s community relations department at (941) 708-8770.