Tuesday's school board meeting will determine whether two new charter schools will be able to open in Leon County for the coming school year. Comments by Leon Superintendent Rocky Hanna are something one of the charter companies, Plato Academy, says it has never encountered before.
Matthew Gunderson, the principal of Plato Academy Tampa, will be traveling to Tallahassee for the school board meeting to represent the school as it seeks to open a location in the Capital city. Gunderson says an editorial by Superintendent Rocky Hanna last week recommending the school board reject two charter proposals is something the company hasn’t seen from other districts.
“We’ve never seen a superintendent come out this strong and negative against charter schools. We have great working relationships with all the districts we’re currently in. And we appreciate — we truly view the work we do as, we’re all serving children,” Gunderson said.
In his editorial, Hanna expressed concern that public school resources are compromised by the opening of new charters.
Plato Academy, which is managed by the company Superior Schools, currently has nine schools in operation around the Tampa Bay area. Gunderson and others at Plato are questioning the legality of Hanna’s move.
“He’s come out with a very strong stance that our board’s attorney says is illegal,” Gunderson said.
Should its proposal be approved by the school board, Plato would open as a K-3 with as many as 200 students and add grade levels gradually. Gunderson said the school has tapped a Tallahassee native, Shannon Paasch, as its potential principal for the campus.