Charter school system to expand; City Council approves grade 10, more classes
Cape Coral City Council unanimously approved a motion Monday night for the city’s charter school system to expand its voluntary pre-K program and add grade 10 for those students who are currently in the freshman academy.
For the charter’s VPK program, each student has 540 hours of programming with a teacher to student ratio of 18:1. Enrollment was at a maximum for the first year, and enrollment for the 2007 to 2008 year is also at maximum levels.
As part of the plan, the current VPK classes will be moved into portable classrooms so additional kindergarten classes can be added next year. The Charter School Authority estimates that the expansion will be complete by January 2009.
“This allows us to expand our program and gives us space to add another kindergarten class,” said Steve Hook, administrator for the Charter School Authority.
According to financial estimates submitted to City Council, the plan would bring in $150,000 of revenue after its first year. Hook explained that the first year will be cost neutral because of the money that will have to be spent to start up the operation, but over time the board is projecting increased revenue. It will cost $12,000 annually to lease the portables for the VPK program for five years.
Currently, the middle school has 620 students and is at 95 percent capacity. The new 10th grade will be offered alongside ninth grade at the middle school.
“Doing a staggered schedule with the middle school allows us to maximize our facility,” said Hooks at Monday night’s council meeting.
There are currently 35 students in the freshman academy and Hook said that he expects anywhere from 75 to 100 students in grades nine and 10.
The Charter School Authority is also continuing to meet with city staff on creating a high school to allow students to attend the charter system from grades nine to 12.
“We have looked at class A office space, portables and other buildings,” explained Hook.
Staff writer Matt Blumenfeld contributed to this story.