Selected readings on US charter schools
PALM BEACH GARDENS — Officials from Franklin Academy, a K-8 charter school that teaches boys and girls in separate core classes, expects to go over plans Tuesday with the city’s planning, zoning and appeals board.
Plans call for an $18 million building on 10 acres on the north side of Hood Road, between Florida’s Turnpike and Interstate 95. The school would be U-shaped, with the boys one one side and girls on the other. School officials hope to open the two-story school for up to 1,300 students this summer.
“Students are better able to focus and teachers are better able to deliver their lessons in a single-gender system,” said Tom Rogers, board representative for Franklin Academy.
After review by the city’s planning board, the proposal must go before two public hearings in front of the city council for approval. No dates have been set.
The vacant property for Franklin Academy was owned by the Batt School, a private school for K-12 students that had offices in Juno Beach. Palm Beach Gardens approved Batt’s proposal in 2002 to build a 50,000-square-foot school on the property. Construction never started.
Franklin Academy operates a charter school in Pembroke Pines. A Franklin school also is scheduled to open this summer in Boynton Beach, on Military Trail about one-half mile north of Gateway Boulevard. Another Franklin school is planned to open this summer in Cooper City, Rogers said.
Franklin is the second charter school that is proposing to build in Palm Beach Gardens.
Renaissance Charter School at Gardens West plans to spend about $12 million to buy a 10-acre parcel off Northlake Boulevard west of Florida’s Turnpike and renovate the 61,000-square-foot warehouse. In the first year, the school plans to have about 500 students in kindergarten to sixth grade. Seventh and eighth grades will be added in the following two years, boosting enrollment to about 1,150.
The number of charter schools statewide is growing. There are now about 400 in Florida, with about 175,000 students. They operate in about one-third of Florida’s 67 counties, according to the Florida Department of Education.
“There is a strong desire among parents to have choices other than traditional schools,” said Chakana Fowler, director of business development for Renaissance schools.
Source: The Palm Beach Post – by Bill DiPaolo