Rowlett could become 1st converted charter school in Manatee County

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BRADENTON - If approved, Rowlett Magnet Elementary School could become the first ever converted charter school in Manatee County.

The school's principal says parents initiated the request, and by becoming a charter, he says both students and parents would benefit.

Rowlett is in the very beginning stages of the charter conversion process, but Principal Brian Flynn says with so much uncertainty with the district's finances, becoming a charter school would empower parents and staff.

25 other schools across the state have gone through the conversion process, but Rowlett could soon be the first in Manatee County.

Flynn says parents initiated the request after discovering a law that states any school that would like to convert to a charter can do so under certain guidelines. Among those, the staff and parents must vote with a 51 percent majority in favor of the conversion.

Flynn says he has received almost all positive feedback so far, with the benefits outweighing any downside. “It's about empowerment for the parents. The parents will have a greater say in what goes on here at the school. We are a performing arts and communication magnet school and they're concerned with will that be able to continue with the budget situation we have. They want to make sure the well-rounded education we give our students here continues.”

The charter school application is due August 1st, which means school officials will have to work quickly.

Voting will begin on May 31st and if enough votes are in favor of the conversion, the school will submit its application and the district will have sixty days to review it.