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Red Hills Academy leadership looks to open Fall 2022 despite denied application

Posted at 11:15 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 23:16:41-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — "I couldn't make an investment of both time and resources to take away from our public schools," said Leon County School Board Vice-Chair Darryl Jones.

Jones is one of three board members who voted against the Red Hills Academy opening in the Fall of 2022.

He says with five operating charter schools already in Leon County, he can't see the value of adding another one right now.

"I'm looking for innovation and ingenuity that speaks to gaps that we don't already offer," Jones said.

The district says existing charters in Leon are averaging 70-percent capacity, with two below that.

Red Hills says despite lower enrollment with other schools they still see a need.

"We feel really good about providing a service to Leon County students and parents," said Laura Joanos, Board Member for Red Hills Academy.

She says their second language offering makes them stand out.

Despite Tuesday's setback, "We are looking forward to opening in August of 2022," said Joanos.

Leon Classroom Teachers Association President Scott Mazzur said their application was missing an educational program design and curriculum plan.

"When you looked at everything that was part of the plan there were some gaps especially financially that were brought up," Mazzur said.

Now the next move for Red Hills?

"We're discussing the appeal process with our attorney," said Joanos.

Trying to open what could be Leon County's sixth charter school.

Red Hills Academy says they have to wait to see what the Leon County Schools' official denial letter says before filing for an appeal.