Rowlett Elementary on its way to become a charter

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Rowlett Elementary is one step closer to managing themselves as a charter. The school got the support of parents and teachers needed to move forward with the conversion process.

"We wanted to continue to offer the uniqueness that we've done for the last 13 years," said Rowlett Elementary School Principal Brian Flynn. 

Flynn is talking about the magnet programs the school currently provides to students. "There is performing arts, communications which includes foreign language and technology and right now because of the budget situation we are not sure if we are going to be able to continue to offer those programs," he added.

So with no assurance from the Manatee County School district the school began the process to convert into a charter.  Which gives them more control over their curriculum. Flynn says stage one of that process was a vote.  "We had the votes tallied and we had overwhelming support from both by teachers and parents."

Parents voted in favor of the measure 480 to 26, teachers also supported the conversion 57 to 4 but the vote is just the beginning. Rowlett officials must now submit an application to the school board for approval.

"We know exactly what we need to develop for them, there are specifics we have to give them and we plan on doing that," said Flynn.

According to the Florida Department of Education's web site those specifics include everything from showing details of their curriculum to setting objectives for improving student learning. There is also a financial plan requirement that Flynn says they are positive they can meet. "We know what our revenue will be. We know what our expenses will be.  And, in putting everything together we feel we are going to be in the black by well over $100,000. "

The charter application is due on August 1st.  The Manatee County School Board will have 60 days from that point to approve or deny the request.