SEBRING — Champs Charter Schools will be building a K-8 school in Highlands County with construction slated to start in the fall.
“We are planning on being the only charter school in Highlands County opening next fall (August 2015),” Champs Vice President Richard Durr said Friday.
Champs has some sites identified and has a builder lined up, he said.
“We are going to do a build from the ground up,” he said. “We will be scheduling public informational meetings for prospective parents and the community so we can then be able to answer questions and get a pulse of the interest in the area.”
Champs met with a representative from the Highlands County School District a couple of months ago, who, Durr said, was agreeable with the target areas for the location of the school.
Durr would not reveal the location as agreements are still being worked out.
The informational meetings will probably start in October, and the campus construction would likely start around November, he said.
“Our planning is to have a facility well enough along that, at least in part, we can start showing it off maybe even before the end of the school year next and be able to have open houses,” he said.
Champs does not have any schools open at this time, but Durr said at least two and possibly three schools will open in August.
The two schools that are confirmed to open in August are located in Tamarac, Broward County, and Delrey Beach, Palm Beach County.
Both south Florida schools will be located in facilities that once housed charter schools.
In Highlands County, plans call for a kindergarten through eighth-grade school with an enrollment of up to 600 students.
“We are contacting people in Highlands County to assemble a board ... at least a few board members, by the time we have the public meetings,” Durr said.
The School Board of Highlands County approved a contract with Champs Charter Schools in December, which allows Champs to start a school in 2014 or 2015.
The Champs Charter Schools and American Charter Schools offices are located in Palm Springs, Palm Beach County.
Durr explained that Champs Charter Schools is a not-for-profit charter school entity while American Charter Schools is a for-profit entity that manages parts of the schools.
Charter schools are tuition-free public schools created through an agreement or “charter” between the school and the local school board or a state university. This agreement gives the charter school a measure of expanded freedom relative to traditional public schools in return for a commitment to higher standards.