Bay District School Board Discusses Charter School Issues

By: Erica Rakow Email
By: Erica Rakow Email

Charter schools dominated Tuesday’s Bay District School Board meeting agenda. The board discussed the future of one school and the expansion of another.

For the past three years, Newpoint Bay High Charter School in Panama City has been struggling to stay afloat, with a "D" grade three years in a row and a 69.4 percent graduation rate for the school’s first senior class.

"The reading issues they have are major. Their scores in reading are extremely low-- lower than anybody around and that's one of the things they've got to address right away is how are they going to improve reading scores," said Superintendent of Bay District Schools, Bill Husfelt.

The school's charter gives district officials the option of providing some guidance, changing the school's charter or closing the school. Tuesday the board decided to help Newpoint Bay with an improvement plan.

"We're going to give them a few weeks to develop a plan they can bring to the board and show that they're making some serious changes to try to make some improvements. I think with their drive and goal to do that, they'll be able to come up with something solid," said Husfelt.

The board also discussed a request from Bay Haven Charter Schools to expand the elementary and middle school enrollment by 15 percent. A couple people expressed concern during the public comment portion of the meeting about the demographic of the students at Bay Haven.

"We need to look at the demographics of the school. It does concern me that the traditional public schools are losing kids," said Sharon Sheffield, a longtime community leader.

Board members agreed to host a workshop on the issue.

"The citizens brought it up. That's what the citizens said was it needs to be reflective of the community and they want to know, is it reflective of the community and the state statute requires it to be demographically similar and so it is not demographically similar, then the laws not being followed," said Husfelt.

That workshop will be held February 6th at 3:00p.m in the school board room.


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