Marion school board shoots down Charter Schools USA application – News – Gainesville Sun

The board voted 4-1 to deny Charter Schools USA’s application. The company wanted to open Southeast Marion Charter School to 745 students somewhere in the sprawling Silver Springs Shores area.

The School Board on Tuesday denied the application of Charter Schools USA, a national for-profit company that had planned to open a K-8 school in Silver Springs Shores for the 2018-19 school year.

The board voted 4-1 to deny Charter Schools USA’s application, which was filed in May and updated recently. The company wanted to open Southeast Marion Charter School to 745 students somewhere in the sprawling Silver Springs Shores area.

Charter Schools USA officials told board members last Thursday during an application review that they were not 100 percent certain of an exact location.

The charter school conglomerate is a for-profit company that uses the nonprofit group Florida Charter Educational Foundation Inc., to operate its school and to get tax exempt status.

The school district will now have 10 business days to issue Charter Schools USA an official letter outlying why the application was denied. Charter Schools USA officials can challenge the decision with the state Department of Education, through its Office of School Choice and Charter Schools.

The denial came a few minutes after Superintendent of Schools Heidi Maier gave a speech about how she embraces “giving parents school choice.” She said, however, that the new school offers nothing new or innovative and the company has no local ties and no real benefit to Marion students.

“I support anything I believe will benefit them (students),” she said. “I see nothing in this application that offers anything better or more creative than choices currently available to them.”

Maier said she believes that Charter Schools USA officials do not “have the best interests of our students at heart.”

“In fact, I believe the exact opposite,” Maier said. “I believe…

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