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Decision catches charter off guard
Dayspring Academy thought a vote on fees had been delayed.
By JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK, Times Staff Writer
Published August 10, 2007
[Special to the Times]
Republican John Legg, state representative of Dist. 46.
NEW PORT RICHEY - If you were at the Pasco School Board meeting Tuesday - and judging from the sparse attendance, you weren't - you might have gotten the impression that Dayspring Academy charter school leaders were fine with the board's decision not to reduce the school's administrative fees.
No one from Dayspring showed up, after all.
But you'd be wrong. Folks from the charter school are pretty upset, and not just because their request got rejected.
"We were told that they didn't have the information ready yet, so they would hold off. And we were told we would be notified ... and that there wouldn't be anything done on that proposal," Tom Buyea, the school's chairman, said Thursday. "Lo and behold, they brought the issue up and there wasn't anybody there from our board.
"It was not good. It did not make us happy."
In the eyes of the school's parents - and there are plenty, as the school enrolls more than 400 children - the charter school leadership looks like it fell down on the job.
"I know how it looks when you don't show up for your own issue," said John Legg, the state representative who co-founded and helps run the school.
The reality was that the team stood ready to rebut district arguments publicly, if it had only known that the issue was going to be discussed. Legg said the school has several reasons why it should not have to pay 5 percent of its budget to the district in administrative fees.
It wants only to be heard.
"We have asked very aggressively that it be put back on the agenda," Legg said.
Superintendent Heather Fiorentino, who met with Dayspring leaders several times, took responsibility for any misunderstanding. She said the item would appear on the board's Aug. 21 agenda.
Whether the board will change its unanimous vote remains to be seen.
"He'd have to give me very compelling reasons. I can't imagine what that would be," Chairwoman Marge Whaley said.
Whaley noted that the issue was listed on the board's Aug. 6 agenda, which appears on the district Web site. Still, she said, she's all for comments.
Buyea welcomed the opportunity.
"If that's the case," he said, "we'll be there en masse."
Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at blogs.tampabay.com/schools.