Pasco charter school may get 15-year extension
DADE CITY - A charter school that has earned an A rating from the state seven years in a row could be getting a 15-year contract extension with the Pasco County School Board. The board is set to vote Tuesday on the long-term contract renewal with Academy at the Farm. Superintendent Kurt Browning’s staff is recommending approval of the extension. The school’s current contract expires June 30. If approved, the new contract would begin July 1 and continue through June 30, 2028. Under state law, Academy at the Farm is eligible for the lengthy contract because it meets the qualifications for designation as a “high performing” charter school, according to the school district.Academy at the Farm, which is on Handcart Road in Dade City, was one of Pasco’s earliest charter schools, opening in 2002. Charter schools are public schools that are operated privately. They don’t charge tuition because, like traditional public schools, they receive taxpayer dollars from the state. Each charter school signs a contract with the local school board. Academy at the Farm is anticipating an enrollment of 419 students in the 2013-14 school year, an increase of 30 students over last year’s enrollment. The school has a waiting list of more than 350 students, the district reported. Academy at the Farm is one of five charter schools in Pasco County. The others are Dayspring Academy in Port Richey, Countryside Montessori Elementary in Land O’ Lakes, Athenian Academy of Pasco in New Port Richey and Imagine Charter School of Land O’ Lakes. Two more charter schools are scheduled to open in August. They are the Florida Autism Center for Excellence and Florida Virtual Academy at Pasco.