State approves new charter school, reversing Manatee County School Board decision

The Parrish Charter Academy has won an appeal, reversing the Manatee County School District’s decision that denied its charter application.

Last year, following a unanimous recommendation by school district staff, the Manatee County School Board denied Parrish Charter Academy’s charter application. Staff members at the time said they felt that the application only met state-statute criteria in 10 areas, partially met those standards in four areas and did not meet them in five areas.

Parrish Charter Academy fought the decision, and in August the Florida Department of Education Charter School Appeal Commission met and voted unanimously to recommend that Parrish Charter Academy’s appeal be granted.

Following the recommendation of the commission, the State Board of Education voted to grant Parrish Charter Academy’s appeal last week — reversing the Manatee County School Board’s decision, according to press secretary Audrey Walden.

The decision was initially set to go before the State Board of Education on Sept. 13, but due to Hurricane Irma, the board met via phone conference only to approve the budget and consent items on the agenda.

Parrish Charter Academy school officials are delighted with the decision, Parrish Charter Academy board member Deborrah Metheny said Monday.

“What we knew to be a good and approvable application was affirmed,” she said.

Officials had planned to open the K-8 school in the fall 2018 in Parrish, a growing area of the county in need of more schools.

Because of the time lapse from the original application was submitted and its approval, however, attempting to open in the fall of 2018 may no longer be possible, according to Metheny. Instead school officials, may opt to aim for a fall 2019 opening date.

A decision is expected to be made in the coming weeks.

Jessica De Leon: 941-745-7049, @JDeLeon1012