By Dawn Krebs
PORT ST. LUCIE -- In a unanimous vote, the St. Lucie County School Board approved a second application for a Renaissance Charter School at Tradition.
This will be the fourth charter school in the Port St. Lucie area, and the only one in Tradition.
Charter schools are independent public schools that operate separately from the school district but still within the Department of Education's and local regulations. This allows the schools the ability to offer different and original programs. There is no tuition charged. Usually, parental involvement is encouraged.
For example, the other Renaissance Charter school in the county requests that parents volunteer 20 hours at the school during the school year.
The school will eventually feature grades kindergarten through eighth grade, but the first year will offer enrollment up to the sixth grade.
The company, Charter Schools USA, currently already has one charter school in the city, Renaissance Charter K-8. It is located on Cashmere Boulevard and opened in 2009.
"Members of the charter application evaluation team were asked to review the application," said Kathy McGinn, assistant superintendent of St. Lucie County Schools in a memorandum. "They were provided copies of the application and then met in a work session to evaluate the application."
Two members of the charter school's governing board also met with school board officials to be interviewed about the proposal.
Afterward, the team recommended the application be approved.
"This is not a recommendation for approval of the charter agreement," wrote Ms. McGinn. "That will come forward at a later date. This is simply a recommendation of the charter application."
There were some concerns the evaluation team had with the application, however. Some of the written concerns involved budgeting for personnel such as a math specialist and exceptional student education teachers. Also noted was that none of the members of the governing board for the school live in St. Lucie County.
The next step for the school will be to secure a location and work with the district to solidify a charter agreement.