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Charter schools keep appearing

By KENT FISCHER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 4, 2002

Three years ago, Pasco County wasn't home to a single charter school. This school year, six will be open, offering a wide range of educational programs.

Charters, publicly funded but privately run, are expected to enroll about 725 students this school year in programs ranging from elementary Montessori to high school drop out prevention.

Charter schools give parents and community groups the resources to open their own public schools. They're a relatively new school improvement idea, but they're growing rapidly around the state. In 1997 there were four such schools. State officials expect 275 to be in operation this school year and enroll 76,000 students.

Here's a round-up of Pasco's six charters:

Academy at the Farm

Location: 9633 Handcart Road, Dade City

Program focus: agriculture and learning disabilities

Grades: Pre-K, 3-5

Enrollment: 150

Administrator: Michael Rom

Learn more: (352) 588-9737

Countryside Montessori

Location: 21404 Carson Drive, Land O'Lakes

Program focus: Montessori

Grades: 1-3

Enrollment: 46

Administrators: Karen Mantei, Mary Rivers

Learn more: (813) 948-8600

Dayspring Academy for the Performing Arts

Location: 8911 Ponderosa Ave., Port Richey

Program focus: the arts

Grades: K-9

Enrollment: 280

Administrator: Suzanne Chase

Learn more: (727) 862-8600

Deerwood Academy

Location: 5844 Pine Hill Road, Port Richey

Program focus: back-to-basics middle school

Grades: 5-8

Enrollment: 200

Administrator: Hank Johnson

Learn more: (727) 859-9774

Language Academy

Location: 4125 U.S. 19, New Port Richey

Program focus: Spanish

Grades: 4-6

Enrollment: 50

Administrator: Jack Alwood

Learn more: (727) 849-4905

Richard Milburn Academy

Location: 7619 Little Road, New Port Richey

Program focus: dropout prevention

Grades: high school

Enrollment: unknown at press time

Administrator: Bruce Meyers

Learn more: (727) 859-9323

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