Board OKs Charter school with alternate calendar

In this 2011 file photo, Alachua County School Board Member Gunnar Paulson shakes hands with Gainesville City Commissioner Jeanna Mastrodicasa following a special meeting with members of the school board and city commission.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 7:54 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 7:54 p.m.

A nearly year-round charter school will open in July 2013 in Gainesville after the Alachua County School Board voted Tuesday to approve its contract.

With Election Day winding down, the Alachua County School Board held a speedy regular meeting where it gave the green light for Boulware Springs Charter School to open its doors next year.

Boulware will feature a longer school day and school year than usual. The school year will be made up of four 50-day terms, with three 10-day breaks and a six-week summer vacation.

Monday through Thursday, school will last from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Friday school would start at 8 a.m. and let out at 2 p.m.

Megan Lane, one part of the mother-daughter team co-founding the school, said there are already community members interested in serving on the school's governing board.

School Board member Gunnar Paulson commended Lane and her mother for submitting what he and fellow board members have deemed the most thorough charter school application they've seen.

“I want to say that I do appreciate the organizational skills that I saw when you were writing this,” he said.

Paulson did reiterate some of his concerns for whether the students will benefit from the more frequent breaks, pointing out that there there might be problems with parents who work and cannot stay home with their children during the breaks.

“I'm concerned for kids getting left behind,” he said.

The school is expected to be housed in the former McGurn Family YMCA at 1303 NW 23rd Ave.

The board also voted to move to a self-funded employee health insurance program using Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida starting Jan. 1, 2013, with a third-party administrative consultant helping in the management of the program.

Karen McCann, president of the Alachua County Education Association and chair the committee that worked on the new plan, said the move does not change anything for employees but allows the district to have more control over any savings.

The only change, she said, is in the administration of the plan, which will allow the district to create a health care savings account and possibly make enhancements to the plan in the future.

“If we see savings, which we expect to see, we are able to keep those savings,” McCann said.

Contact Joey Flechas at 338-3166 or

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