|Published:||Sep 05, 2012 8:11 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Sep 06, 2012 9:32 AM EDT|
COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - Collier County parents could soon have a lot more options when it comes to which schools their kids can attend.
Four new charter schools are eligible to open next fall, and four more are getting in line for approval.
One of the schools waiting for the go-ahead from the school board is Mason Classical Academy, which is currently eyeing locations in Naples.
"There aren't a lot of options in Naples other than public schools and private schools, but I feel that parents should have more choices," said Kelly Lichter, with Mason Classical Academy.
That desire for more to choose from is what prompted Lichter to start the application process for the school, which is named after her father.
According to Lichter, the "back to basics" school is based on the Hillsdale model, and will give students a solid basis in Liberal Arts.
"The expectations will be high for students," said Lichter. "Any parent that wants to put their student in a school
where they're pushed to excel will love to send their kids to Mason Classical."
Right now, the number of privately-run, publicly-funded schools is much smaller than other districts in Florida. While Collier has nearly half the student population of Lee County, it has one-eighth the number of charters. According to the school district, 1.7 percent of Collier students are enrolled in charter schools.
Last year, Marco Island Academy became the third to open in the county, despite some opposition from the community.
"When you're dealing with an area that doesn't have a lot of charter schools, there's just a lot of misinformation out there," said Jane Watt, a board member with Marco Island Academy.
Watt believes, since the school's opening, it has become a part of the community.
"Between last year and this year we've almost doubled in size," said Watt. "I think when there's a lot of competition, people naturally get better, so it's an advantage to everybody."
The schools eligible to open next fall include Florida High School for Accelerated Learning - Collier Campus, Gulf Coast Charter Academy South, iGeneration Empowerment Academy of Collier County, and Edison Collegiate High School.
The four proposed charters currently up for approval are Mason Classical Academy, iGeneration Empowerment Academy of Naples, My Choise Collegiate Academy at Collier, and My Choice Accelerated Academy at Collier.
The school board will decide on those October 9th.
While charter schools get public funding, they get 5 percent less than traditional public schools and are responsible for raising the money for the land and construction of the campus.
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