New Study Compares Charter Schools To Traditional Public Schools

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Two local charter schools are holding a lottery Saturday to select new students.
The selection process is taking place the same week that the Florida Department of Education released a new study, showing charter school students have recently out-performed traditional public school students.
School district officials say that particular study is not painting the full picture.

"When you're talking about charter and public schools, you're comparing apples to oranges," said Carra Summers of Bay District Schools.

Summers says a number of factors can impact these type of studies, including a lack of transportation for some students that would otherwise want to enroll in a charter school.
She also points out that some charter schools don't provide special needs programs.

"Traditional public schools serve 98% of our public school children. Charter schools don't typically serve students with severe disabilities. The number of children with socio-economic issues don't typically attend charter schools as often," said Summers.

Bay Haven Charter Academy's principal says the school accepts applicants of all abilities.
He believes parental involvement makes the difference.

"It's a school of choice. Parents have to go through a lottery process to get their children into the school," says Larry Bolinger.

He also says Bay Haven doesn't have to deal with the same funding restrictions as traditional schools.

"All the money that the students earn, or a big portion of that, comes to the school and we're able to spend it in more creative ways."

Saturday's Bay Haven enrollment lottery is open to the public.
700 students have applied for about 100 openings at both Bay Haven and North Bay Haven.
An accounting group will oversee the process for fairness and accuracy.

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