Two weeks after approving a charter contract for the first time since the 2014-15 academic year, the Manatee County School Board is expected to deny a different charter request Tuesday.
The board has denied every proposal to open a new charter school in Manatee County since the district-run Rowlett magnet school converted into a charter school, Rowlett Academy for Arts and Communication. Two weeks ago, the board signed off on allowing Rowlett to expand into a middle school.
Otherwise, the district and the school board have a long history of denying charter applications, saying the proposals do not meet the standards to open in Manatee County.
That’ll be the case on Tuesday, when the district is recommending the board deny a charter school request from Parrish Charter Academy. Although the board could go against the staff’s recommendation and approve the charter, it is unlikely the board will sway from the staff’s recommendation.
The mission of Parrish Charter Academy (PCA) is to provide academic excellence for all students through experience and self-discovery in order to develop motivated, independently thinking individuals who demonstrate exemplary character, social confidence and service to the community.
David Sellars, listed as a teacher at Manatee School of the Arts on the charter application, submitted the application as the school’s board president. The proposal includes using FORZA Education Management as the school’s education service provider. FORZA was involved with the Gulf Coast Charter Academy North application in the county last year, which was also denied.
“We are obviously very disappointed the committee is recommending to deny our charter application,” said FORZA CEO Chuck Malatesta. “We believe the application meets the statutory requirements to be approved. The Parrish Charter Academy Board of Directors is currently reviewing the Evaluation Instrument. The information stated in this document will determine the board's next step in the process.”
Officials want to open the K-8 school in Parrish, where the county population and need for new schools are growing.
Parents in the Parrish community desperately need another choice for their children's education which is one of the main reasons we submitted the application. Chuck Malatesta, FORZE Education Management CEO
The foundation of the program would be “experiential learning,” according to the proposal.
“The mission of Parrish Charter Academy (PCA) is to provide academic excellence for all students through experience and self-discovery in order to develop motivated, independently thinking individuals who demonstrate exemplary character, social confidence and service to the community,” the proposal read.
In the rejection letter written to school officials, district staff determined the application met state-statute criteria in 10 areas, partially met in four areas and did not meet them in five areas. The remaining three criteria did not apply, according to the letter.
The letter further lays out which areas the application did not meet and why.
After the board vote Tuesday, organizers with the school can choose to appeal the outcome to the state.