THREE NEW CHARTER SCHOOLS MAY OPEN IN PALM BEACH COUNTY NEXT YEAR

October 2018

Three new charter schools could open next year in Palm Beach County if school board members give their approval Wednesday.

School district officials have recommended that board members approve two K-8 charter schools, one in Wellington and one in Belle Glade, and a high school near West Palm Beach.

The three schools, which would be privately managed but operate with public money, are:

Covenant Arts Academy – A combined elementary and middle school expected to be located in Belle Glade. The school says it would integrate arts into all of its classes and would instruct students in music, dance and drama.

The school says it would provide an arts-based education that until now has not been available to students in the county’s Glades region.

“The nearest arts middle school option for students in the Glades region is 39 miles away and is an audition-based magnet school,” the school wrote in its charter application. “These geographical and access challenges significantly limit potential access for interested students in the Glades region.”

Covenant Arts aims to enroll 590 students by its fifth year.

Somerset Academy of the Arts – A combined elementary and middle school expected to be located in the Wellington area. The school says it aims to provide an “arts-integrated curriculum.”

The school would be the county’s sixth Somerset campus. The Somerset schools are managed by Academia, the state’s largest for-profit charter school operator. It aims to enroll 906 students by its fifth year of operation.

SLAM Academy High School Palm Beach – This high school would operate on a campus near West Palm Beach alongside two sister schools: SLAM Middle School and Somerset Academy Lakes.

The school allows students to study sports medicine; sports broadcasting and journalism; or sports marketing, entertainment arts and management. It would be the county’s third SLAM campus.

Like the Somerset schools, the SLAM schools are managed by Academia. The school aims to enroll 800 students by its fifth year.

The school district is recommending that board members reject two charter applications from Academic Solutions Academy. The schools proposed to offer flexible computer-based learning for students at risk of dropping out.

District officials argue that the schools’ proposals do not meet the school board’s standards.

If approved, the three recommended schools would join 48 charter schools already operating in the county. All three schools said they intended to open in August, but they would have the right to postpone their opening if necessary.

Charter schools educate about 20,000 students countywide, 10 percent of the county’s public school students.

The school board is expected to vote on the proposals Wednesday afternoon.

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