JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Nearly a third of charter schools in Duval County fell below average on the latest round of school grades released by the Florida Department of Education.
Meanwhile, about 9% of non-charter schools, got either a ‘D’ of ‘F.’ However, both receive state funding.
Two charter schools received an ‘F,’ including Wayman Academy of the Arts and Somerset Academy Eagle Campus. Action News Jax reached out to both schools but did not hear back.
River City Science Academy is one of the exceptions. Its schools received A’s down the line. RCSA Intracoastal is gearing up for its second school year with hundreds more enrolled and 700 waitlisted.
“As a charter school, we’re able to have more flexibility — we of course follow state standards, but we can bring things into our schools and additional resources to meet the needs of our kids,” Principal Megan Jackson said. “We really cater to that individualized approach of student learning.”
According to data from the state, no charter schools failed in 2019 and only about 12% got a D. That number tripled after the pandemic in 2022.
“There was a significant loss of learning. When students aren’t in the building and don’t have the face-to-face interface with teachers,” Jackson said. “When they missed out on that, they fell behind.”
A controversial bill was passed in 2017 that funneled more state money to charter schools. While they are public, they don’t follow the same regulations which Jackson said gives them more flexibility to individualize education.
“Why do you think you need that money,” Action News Jax’s Robert Grant asked Jackson. “Because we are teaching our local children. Parents are choosing to come here because of what we have to offer. And we are not at all skimping,” she said.
Charter schools also receive money from the half-cent sales tax, which was passed by voters in 2020. According to the district’s dashboard, charter schools received more than $18 million of the $140 million gathered so far.
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