94% of Teachers Support Conversion Charter School

Source: Bradenton.com, Jun 2013

MANATEE — In a historic vote Monday at Rowlett Magnet Elementary School, 94 percent of Rowlett teachers and 95 percent of Rowlett parents voted to convert to a public charter school for the 2014-2015 school year.

The votes positioned Rowlett, known for its arts and communication programs, closer to becoming the first Manatee County conversion charter school.

Many parents among a crowd of about 150 who gathered in the Rowlett Multi-Purpose Room were jubilant over the vote, which they say will protect the school’s cherished arts and communication programs from the chopping block of a school district in financial distress. 

The charter school conversion idea took root about two and a half months ago during a Rowlett School Advisory Council meeting when parent Christine Sket said Rowlett could protect its teachers, aides, assistants and internal funding from a cash-starved school district. The state provides a charter option, Sket told Flynn.

Flynn said Monday the fact the school district, which is in financial distress, took $45,000 from Rowlett’s internal account, was one of several factors that led to the vote.

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