By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Citing a “litany of concerns” with the New Millennium Charter School’s application, the Madison County School Board on Tuesday evening voted 3-2 to go with Dr. Cheryl James’ recommendation and deny the charter school’s application. James had stated that the application was incomplete and that some sections appeared to be “cut and paste” or omitted altogether, and that the application itself, which was faxed to the school on the deadline date of Aug. 1, was deemed late because of the missing information.
Dr. Jerri Haynes, representing the charter school, had protested the recommendation before the vote was taken, stressing that New Millennium and its supporters were “not the enemy” of the Madison County School District, but were there with the goal of offering parents a choice for children who do not perform well in traditional school settings.
“We want to close the achievement gap for those limited by low-performing schools,” said Haynes.
Haynes added that she had not had any communication from the District or the Board about whether or not there was a problem with the document as faxed, or even whether or not all the pages had arrived. She also questioned whether the Board’s decision to enforce the deadline was arbitrary, claiming that Florida Statute allows them some discretion in the matter.
Board member Tina Johnson also questioned whether or not there was adequate communication with Haynes about potential problems with the application.
However, because of the many other concerns raised, including a lack of any financial information, particularly regarding salaries, Board member Kenny Hall made a motion to deny the request and was seconded. Bart Alford and Clyde Alexander voted with Hall. Johnson and School Board Chair VeEtta Hagan voted against the denial.
The school, which has a target opening date of 2013, can resubmit its application by Aug. 1 of next year, with all the noted concerns addressed and corrections made, for reconsideration by the School Board.