School Board Denies Charter Application For South Hamilton

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Hamilton Co., FL -
By Greg Gullberg

The Hamilton County School Board denied the application to make South Hamilton Elementary a Charter School. The vote was 4 to 1 in Monday night's meeting.

The newly elected Hamilton County Superintendent, Tom Moffses, says the issue is cut and dry.

"If the application had met the standards we'd ask that it be approved. If it didn't meet the standards we'd ask that it be disapproved," Moffses said.

The Superintendent makes the recommendation, but ultimately it's up to the school board to vote yes or no.

"The board is reviewing and trying to do the best thing for the kids and their education," he said.

The school board had the application looked over by a Charter Review Committee. There were 19 criteria by which it was judged and the committee found they only passed six. Because of that they recommended to the School Board the application be denied.

In August 2011 the Florida Board of Education demanded the School Board take corrective action because the continued poor performance of Central Hamilton Elementary in Jasper. So the board voted to close South and roll the two schools together because Central is physically the bigger school.

Then something amazing happened, Central pulled its grade up from an F to a C, so the board no longer had to close either of them. But community leaders are still pushing for the charter. White Springs Mayor Helen Miller says it's to keep something like this from ever happening again.

"We're disappointed. We felt that the budget and everything we had in the application made for a successful charter school," said Mayor Miller.

The members of the South Hamilton Governing Board are going to meet in the coming days to decide if they will take their case to the Florida Department of Education.

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