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Charter School Application and Review

Quick links to content on this page:

Procedures for Applying for Charter Status
Optional Application Overview Meeting (All Cycles)
Optional Advance Review (May Cycle)
Submitting a Letter of Intent
Submitting an Application (August Cycle)
Obtaining Technical Assistance
Notice of Public Records Status
Contact Information
Review Procedures
Forms and Documents Related to the Application Process
Further Information and Assistance

Archive of Previous Charter School Applications

Current Applications for Charter School Status
Expert Review Panel Members and Contact Information
Current Application Documents

Procedures for Applying for Charter Status

An application for a new charter school may be made by an individual, teachers, parents, a group of individuals, a municipality, or a legal entity organized under the laws of the state of Florida.

To apply for a charter, submit a proposal in compliance with the Florida Charter School Application. (See "Forms and Documents Related to the Application Process" below.)

Optional Application Overview Meeting (All Cycles)

Prospective charter applicants are invited to attend an optional meeting during which the District Charter School Liaison will review the various components of the application process, and explain how charter school applications are reviewed and approved. The meeting will include a presentation followed by a general question and answer session.

Members of the public are welcome. No advance registration is required.

Meeting information:

Lee County Public Education Center
2855 Colonial Boulevard, Fort Myers, FL 33966-1012 (Click here for directions in Google Maps)

Intervention Services Conference Room 0202

Thursday, April 17, 2014
3:00—5:00 P.M. EDT

Optional Advance Review of Draft Charter School Applications (May Cycle)

In order to facilitate greater collaboration in the application process, an applicant may submit a draft charter school application on or before May 1 of each year along with an application fee of $500. If a draft application is timely submitted, District staff will review and provide feedback as to material deficiencies in the application by July 1. The applicant shall then have until August 1 to resubmit a revised and final application.

It is requested that charter school applications planning to submit a draft charter school application for this optional advance review provide the School District with a letter of intent to submit a draft application at least sixty days in advance of the expected submittal date. Letters of intent may be to the District's charter school liaison by postal mail or via e-mail message (see "Contact Information" below). A letter of intent to apply should include:

  • Name of organization proposing the charter school.
  • Proposed name of school.
  • Proposed location of school.
  • Brief description of student population and number of students to be served.
  • Unique educational opportunities to be provided by the charter school.
  • Application contact person(s).
  • Telephone and fax numbers.
  • E-mail address(es) of contact person(s).

In an effort to be welcoming to potential applicants, the District will accept and review draft applications that may be missing some sections (for the May cycle only). For best results, however, applicants are encouraged to submit a complete draft application. An applicant who submit a partial draft application that does not include all sections of the model application is advised that the District’s review of the portion of the draft application submitted will necessarily also be incomplete.  The evaluation of potential deficiencies in some sections of the application can only be made with knowledge of the content of other sections of the application.  Unless all sections of the application are available for review, the District cannot evaluate the sections submitted for all potential deficiencies.  If an incomplete draft application is submitted and reviewed in the May cycle, it is therefore possible that additional deficiencies may be noted in sections that were reviewed previously when the full application is reviewed in a subsequent submittal.

Submitting a Charter School Application (August Cycle)

The optional advance review described above is not required. All applicants may submit a charter school application in the regular August cycle as described below. There is no application fee for application submitted in the August cycle.

Submitting a Letter of Intent

Potential applicants are advised to file a letter of intent to apply at least sixty days in advance of the expected submittal date. Letters of intent may be to the District's charter school liaison by postal mail or via e-mail message (see "Contact Information" below). A letter of intent to apply should include:

  • Name of organization proposing the charter school.
  • Proposed name of school.
  • Proposed location of school.
  • Brief description of student population and number of students to be served.
  • Unique educational opportunities to be provided by the charter school.
  • Application contact person(s).
  • Telephone and fax numbers.
  • E-mail address(es) of contact person(s).

Submitting an Application

Proposals must comply with the requirements of the appropriate Florida model application.Proposals must comply with School Board of Lee County Policy 2.28.
  • Proposals must be be presented in reviewable format and must include (a) two printed, collated, and unbound copies and (b) one complete digital copy.
  • Paper copies should be printed on letter size (8½ by 11 inches) white paper.
  • Typefaces should be of sufficient weight and size to be easily readable. Decorative typefaces should be avoided.
  • The printed copies and the digital copies must be faithful copies of each other.
  • The digital copy may be provided on a CD, DVD, or flash drive; or may be posted in an online depository to which the District has been provided access. At this time, the District cannot accept files on other digital media.
  • The digital copy must contain the entire application in a single, searchable, unprotected file in PDF or Microsoft Word format, except that financial appendices may be presented as separate PDF, Word, or Excel format files.
  • Digital media is not retained and will not be returned.
  • Proposals must be received in the Office of the Superintendent no later than 4:00 P.M. EDT on August 1st of each year, or the next day of business after that in years when August 1st does not fall on a business day. Therefore, applications for charter schools seeking to open in the 2015-2016 school year are due by 4:00 P.M. EDT on Friday, August 1, 2014.
  • IMPORTANT: When submitting a revised application that was reviewed in the previous May cycle, include a separate document that notes what changes were made, and on what page numbers the changes appear. Many applicants accomplish this easily by creating a table of changes.

Obtaining Technical Assistance

We want to help you make your application the best that it can be. Although District staff cannot assist applicants in the writing of their actual proposal, extensive technical assistance is available.

Prospective applicants are invited to attend an optional application overview meeting.

Applicants are encouraged to review previous applications and previous reviews to improve their own applications.

Applicants who are not fluent with digital file management and preparation are encouraged to contact Dr. Jeff McCullers at (239) 337-8115. Extensive assistance, including in-person tutorials, can be arranged if requested in advance. Last-minute assistance on or near the submittal deadline will of necessity be quite limited, and will likely not be available at all.

Notice of Public Records Status

All applications and all communications regarding applications are public records in the State of Florida, and are posted here as such. The State of Florida and the School District of Lee County hold perpetual and irrevocable license to freely store, post, publish, share, distribute, and make available online any and all communications and documents related to submittal of a charter school application. However, applications are not in the public domain unless placed there by their authors or by applicable law, and authors may retain copyright over their original work. Current and future applicants or anyone else wishing to use any portion of a previous application for any purpose should consult the copyright holder directly for permission to do so. The School District of Lee County does not manage copyrights, licenses, or permissions for applicants.

Contact Information

Application packages and other formal correspondence should be sent to the following address:

Nancy J. Graham, Ed.D
Superintendent of Schools
Lee County Public Education Center
2855 Colonial Boulevard
Fort Myers, FL 33966-1012
(239) 337-8301

Letters of intent to apply, requests for information and assistance, and other correspondence may be directed to the District's charter school liaison at this address:

J.F. "Jeff" McCullers, Ed.D.
Director, Grants & Program Development
Liaison, Public Charter Schools
Lee County Public Education Center
2855 Colonial Boulevard
Fort Myers, FL 33966-1012
(239) 337-8115
JeffFM@leeschools.net

Review Procedures

The digital copy of the application will be posted online and will be available to anyone. Related documents may also be posted.

The Charter School Review Committee will review and evaluate all applications for charter status. The application and the Review Team's recommendations will be presented to the Superintendent. Once the Superintendent has determined what the recommendation will be, that recommendation will placed upon an agenda for the School Board's consideration.

The School Board shall, by a majority vote, approve or deny an application no later than 60 calendar days after the application is received, unless a mutual agreement is made to temporarily postpone the vote to a specific date.

If an application is denied, the School Board will, within ten calendar days, articulate in writing the specific reasons based upon good cause supporting its denial of the charter application to the State Board of Education.

Upon approval of a charter application, the terms and conditions for the operation of a charter school shall be formed in a written contractual agreement.

Forms and Documents Related to the Application Process

Further Information and Assistance

If you have any questions or need further information please contact the Department of Grants & Program Development at (239) 337-8115.

Archive of Previous Charter School Applications

To see the applications and reviews for prior years, please click on the desired year of application in the table below.
Submittal
Date
Applications
Received
Applications
Withdrawn
Applications
Approved
Percentage
Approved
1999-2000 2 0 2 100%
2000-2001 1 0 1 100%
2001-2002 1 0 1 100%
2002-2003 2 0 2 100%
2003-2004 3 0 3 100%
2004-2005 2 0 2 100%
2005-2006 6 0 6 100%
2006-2007 5 0 5 100%
2007-2008 4 0 4 100%
2008-2009 3 1 2 100%
2009-2010 5 0 5 100%
2010-2011 11 1 4 40%
2011-2012 11 2 0 0%
2012-2013 10 1 1 11%
2013-2014 13 6 3 43%
All Years 79  11 41 60%
 

Current Applications for Charter School Status

All accepted applications are reviewed by a panel of expert reviewers, and their reviews are posted here as a courtesy. These individual reviewers often respond only to a limited section of each application. This means that an an individual reviewer's recommendation to approve or deny an application is limited to that area only and only represents one reviewer's assessment. An individual reviewer's assessment by itself is intended be useful to all parties, but does not by itself constitute an overall decision to recommend approval or denial of the entire application.

The decision on whether or not to recommend approval of an application is made by the Superintendent of Schools based on the findings of this panel of reviewers. The final decision to approve or deny is made solely by the School Board of Lee County.

Some reviewers consider all applications and some reviewers do not. If there is no link for a particular reviewer, this does not necessarily mean that a review is forthcoming or should be expected. Reviews may appear at various times during the review period, so applicants should check this page regularly.

All accepted applications are reviewed at least once. Applicants will be provided at least seven calendar days to make technical or nonsubstantive corrections and clarifications, including, but not limited to, corrections of grammatical, typographical, and like errors, or missing signatures, if such errors are identified as cause to deny the application.

Any numbering of reviews (e.g. Review 1, Review 2) is a naming convention only and does not mean that a certain number of reviews will be forthcoming or should be expected. 

Expert Review Panel Members and Contact Information

SCHOOL BOARD    

Mr. Keith Martin, Esq.

School Board Attorney

(239) 337-8511

Mr. Kevin Pendley, Esq.

Contracted School Board Attorney 

(239) 514-1000

     
BUSINESS & FINANCE    

Mr. Robert Brown

Director, Internal Audit

(239) 337-8374

Dr. Ami Desamours

Assistant Superintendent, Business & Finance

(239) 337-8217

Ms. Jeanette Ingersoll

Senior Accountant, Cash Management

(239) 337-8227

Mr. Mark Santiago

Director, Financial Services

(239) 337-8523

Mr. Sonny Stelmacki

Director, Food and Nutrition Services & Warehouse Operations

(239) 461-8459

Mr. William Tubb

Executive Director, Financial Services

(239) 337-8523

     
TEACHING & LEARNING    

Ms. Candace Allevato

Coordinator, Elementary Mathematics

(239) 335-1528

Dr. Pete Bohatch Director, Student Services (239) 337-8342

Ms. Lori Brooks

Assistant Director, School Counseling Services

(239) 337-8348

Mr. Mike Bursztyn

Director, Exceptional Student Education

(239) 337-8287

Ms. Christine Busenbark

Coordinator, Elementary Reading

(239) 461-8429

Dr. Sheryl Clarke

Director, Intervention Programs

(239) 337-8113

Ms. Patti Elkin

Director, Accountability

 

Ms. Robin Frink

Coordinator, Exceptional Student Education

(239) 337-8335

Mr. Lee Hughes

Coordinator, Science K-12

(239) 337-8697

Dr. J.F. "Jeff" McCullers

Director, Grants & Program Development

(239) 337-8115

Dr. Ranice Monroe Assistant Director, MTSS, Attendance, & Social Work (239) 335-1485

Dr. Carlos Negron

Coordinator, Elementary Science

(239) 337-8341

Mr. Jim Propert

Coordinator, Secondary Mathematics

(239) 337-8315

Ms. Evelyn Rivera

Coordinator, English Language Learners

(239) 337-8315

Ms. Sue Roshon

Director, Adult & Career Education

(239) 939-6310

Mr. Al Shilling

Principal, Lee Virtual Instruction Program

(239) 337-8178

Ms. Mikeol Stroh

Coordinator, Endorsements, Social Studies K-12

(239) 335-1494

TBA Director, Curriculum & Staff Development, Elementary  
TBA Director, Curriculum & Staff Development, Secondary  
     
OPERATIONS    

Ms. Cindy Felice

Student Systems Analyst, Information Systems

(239) 335-1416

Mr. Marc Mora

Director, Planning, Growth, & School Capacity

(239) 479-5665

Mr. Robert Morgan

Executive Director, Transportation

(239) 590-4003

     

Current Application Documents (9 proposed schools)

East Lee County Charter School (K-8; 375 students)
Applicant: East Lee County Charter School, Inc.
ESP:
Contact: Mr. Roy Kennix
Contact E-Mail Addresss: basiclearningskills95@yahoo.com
Contact Telephone: (239) 332-3480

Florida Military Academy - Lee (6-12; 1200 students)
Applicant:
ESP:
Contact: Mr. William K. Orris
Contact E-Mail Addresss: billorris@yahoo.com
Contact Telephone: (262) 344-6724

Fort Myers Classical Academy (K-6; unknown number of students)
Applicant: Unknown
ESP: Unknown
Contact: Mr. John Kordon
Contact E-Mail Address: johnkordon@q.com
Contact Telephone: (632) 910-4821

Gulf Coast Charter Academy (K-8; 900 students)
Applicant: Gulf Coast Charter Academy, Inc.
ESP: FORZA Education Management, LLC
Contact: Mr. Mark McCabe
Contact E-Mail Address: mmccabe@summitmortgage.com
Contact Telephone: (239) 248-0840

Mr. Robert Brown
Ms. Christine Businebark & Ms. Lori Houchin
Mr. Keith Martin, Esq.
Dr. J.F. "Jeff" McCullers
Mr. Marc Mora
Dr. Carlos Negron
Ms. Evelyn Rivera
Mr. Al Shilling
Mr. Sonny Stelmacki
Mr. William Tubb

Leadership Institute of Lee County (K-12; 990 students)
Applicant:
ESP:
Contact: Ms. Phyllis Handford
Contact E-Mail Addresss: phyllishandford.agilitynetwork@gmail.com
Contact Telephone: (561) 876-7540

New World Academy of Lee County (6-12; 1,600 students)
Applicant: New World Academy of Lee County
ESP:
Contact: Mr. Jack Cunningham
Contact E-Mail Address: jc@chestertongroup.com
Contact Telephone: Unknown'

Northern Palms Charter High School (9-12; 400 students)
Applicant: City of Palms Charter High School, Inc.
ESP:
Contact: Ms. Amy Rohner
Contact E-Mail Address: Amy.Rohner@gmail.com
Contact Telephone: (239) 888-6544

Mr. Robert Brown
Ms. Lori Houchin
Mr. Keith Martin, Esq.
Dr. J.F. "Jeff" McCullers
Mr. Marc Mora
Ms. Evelyn Rivera
Mr. Al Shilling
Mr. Sonny Stelmacki
Mr. William Tubb

Real World Institute (9-12; 400 students)
Applicant: Real World Institute Foundation, Inc.
ESP: None
Contact: Ms. Tobie Duty
Contact E-Mail Address: tobie.duty@gmail.com
Contact Telephone: (239) 770-1746

SKY Academy Bonita Springs (9-12; 700 students)
Applicant: South County Family YMCA, Inc.
ESP:
Contact: Mr. Kenneth Modzelewski
Contact E-Mail Address: kenneth@veniceymca.org
Contact Telephone: (941) 375-9101