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Cape charter schools earn high marks from DOE

By Staff | Aug 31, 2011

Three of Cape Coral’s charter schools recently received high performing charter school status from the Department of Education.

The three schools that are high performing include Oasis Elementary, Christa McAuliffe Elementary School and Oasis Middle School.

“I think it is a big deal for us,” Dr. Lee Bush, administrator for the city of Cape Coral Charter School Authority, said. “We are a high performing school and I am very happy.”

He said it is a result of all the hard work that all of the teachers and support staff have done.

Due to FCAT scores, they are still waiting on the status for Oasis High School.

“We are very certain that Oasis High School will get this as well,” Bush said.

Lee County School District Grants and Program Develop-ment Director and Liason of public charter schools Jeff McCullers said so far the commissioner has notified them that two other charter schools in the district are high performers as well. He said those schools include Bonita Springs Charter School and Gateway Charter Elementary School.

“Additional schools may be added to this list,” McCullers said.

There are 26 approved charter schools in the Lee County School District.

Bush said in order for them to be considered a high performing charter school, the schools had to receive at least two “A” grades and no letter below a “B” for the last three years.

In addition, they also had to have a clean annual audit during the most recent three years.

Due to the achievement, the city of Cape Coral Charter School Authority was awarded many benefits.

The schools can increase its student enrollment by up to 15 percent more of the capacity of the school once a year.

Due to the class size amendment, Bush said they are not going to be adding enrollment in the schools. He said as circumstances come along, they may want to bring in additional children for some of the specialized programs they offer.

“It is nice knowing that we can actually do that,” he said.

Bush said another benefit includes the schools having the opportunity to submit quarterly financial statements to their sponsor rather than monthly. He said they also have the option of consolidating under a single charter.

“Instead of having individual charters for each individual school, we can put it under one charter,” he said, which includes a 15-year charter instead of 5 years.

Bush said they are going to certainly look into submitting quarterly financial statements, along with looking into consolidating all charter schools into one.

The last benefit, according to Bush, includes the schools being able to replicate their educational program in any district in the state.

“They made it very simple to actually add another school that is similar to what you have in either your own district or another district,” he said. “It is a simple thing to have another school, but that school has to be substantially like yours.”

Bush said they are not interested in replicating any programs just yet, but discussions will be had in the next few months with the board about what their future may hold.

“It is nice knowing that we can do some creative things in the future,” he said.