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September 12,2016 - Babcock's charter school approved by Charlotte board
Fort Myers Press

Submitted by: THYRIE BLAND and PAMELA McCABE, PMCCABE@NEWS-PRESS.COM 

September 5, 2016

education-building

Plans to build a K-through-8 schoolhouse in Babcock Ranch were approved by the Charlotte County school board Thursday.

The school, called the Babcock Neighborhood School, is set to open next fall in the solar-powered eco-city, which is being built just north of the Lee-Charlotte county line near State Road 31.

An application form will be posted to the school website, where potential students and parents can fill out an interest form.

Although the school will sit on the Charlotte side of the property, an open enrollment process in keeping with a new state law will allow students in other counties to attend as long as there are seats available. This means Lee County children could be among those in the inaugural class.

“Schools are the cornerstone of every successful community, and we are pleased to be able to incorporate quality, community-based public education from the very beginning at Babcock Ranch,” said Al Dougherty, the chief operating officer of the communities division of Kitson & Partners, in a news statement.

Before Thursday’s unanimous vote, school board member Lee Swift said he was in favor of the plans, even though he is “normally and philosophically opposed to charter schools.”

“This situation meets the true definition of being unique, and I think it would be an asset to the district to have,” he said.

Board chair Barbara Rendell agreed, calling it a “truly unique school.”

In other charter school news, the application for Athenian Academy of Estero is due to come before the Lee school board during its 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday. District staff who reviewed the document believe “the application does not meet the minimum standards for approval, and that the application should be recommended for denial by the school board.”