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The Duval School Board Tuesday night approved an application allowing a new charter school to be built in the city’s Southside near a site where the school district already plans to build its own elementary school.
Renaissance contracts with Charter Schools USA, a national, for-profit charter school management company, to operate what will be an elementary and middle school expected to serve up to 661 students in kindergarten through sixth grades its first year and up to 1,145 students by its fifth year.
The school would locate at 8080 A.C. Skinner Parkway, the same street where district leaders plan a school within five years.
Becki Couch, chairwoman of the School Board, noted that Florida law limits a school board’s ability to halt charter school openings, even in cases like this one, she said, noting that the surrounding schools are all A or B schools.
Renaissance has a charter school in Arlington that was graded D but would have been rated F had the state not cushioned schools from falling more than one letter grade last year, she said.
Charter school grades affect Duval Schools’ overall state grade, even though the district can provide only limited oversight of them, said Superintendent Nikolai Vitti.
He said he has misgivings about this charter school contract.
Jason Fischer, the board member who represents the region affected by the new charter school, defended the school saying the area is seeing high growth and there is demand for it. He said he hopes Renaissance officials will better coordinate future charter school locations with the district.
Source: Jacksonville.com – by Denise Smith Amos
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