The group behind the Key West charter high school has approval to add a middle school to its campus on Stock Island.
But some School Board members say it will only further separate students by income and race.
Key West Collegiate Academy, now run by Somerset Academy Inc. under Academica, applied to the Monroe County School District to create a middle school with plans to take students from the nearby Gerald Adams Elementary.
Andy Griffiths, the veteran School Board member, said Collegiate has taken a different approach than other charter schools in the Florida Keys that hasn’t resulted in what he called “white flight,” leaving the most disadvantaged children at the original elementaries while high-income families choose the new charters.
“How can we be sure that this will not result in one more white-flight school?” Griffiths asked Todd German, who represented Somerset at the board’s Nov. 22 meeting in Key West.
“You will continue to see the white flight as long as these charters demand the parents bring them to school and they don’t take part in bus transportation,” said board member Ron Martin, a former Coral Shores High principal.
The middle school plan, however, was approved before the School Board met Nov. 22 in Key West due to a technical misstep. Administrators had 60 days to question the application but the time ran out before that happened.
“This is a replication of a high-performing charter school model,” said Superintendent Mark Porter.
This year, all 19 seniors at Key West Collegiate graduated.
Monroe County has six charter schools, all public and free of charge. The new middle school will be on campus of the Florida Keys Community College, where Key West Collegiate is located at 5901 College Road.
The board meets next Dec. 13 at Coral Shores High School in Tavernier, starting with a 3 p.m. workshop before a 5 p.m. regular meeting.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting:
▪ Mindy Conn was sworn in as the newest member, having defeated Ed Davidson in the Aug. 30 primary.
▪ John Dick was elected chairman and Bobby Highsmith was elected vice chairman.
Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen