Osceola County schools near capacity, charter schools expanding

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Osceola County schools expect to add another 2,000 this school year.

School board member Tim Weisheyer told Channel 9’s Michael Lopardi that many school are nearing capacity.

“We're definitely one of the highest growing, fastest growing districts in the state of Florida,” Weisheyer said.

Weisheyer said new charter schools are helping with overcrowding. Four charters opened last year and two more will open this year that will allow the number of Osceola students in charters to grow to 10,000.

Without the charters, the district would have to build more schools.

“The population in Osceola County continues to grow, and I think that because of they are so supportive of us. We will continue to bring schools here,” said Carmen Cangemi, principal at Mater Brighton Lakes Academy.

Mater Academy scored a B grade following its first official school year, but the results weren't as good for some other new charter schools here. Two of the charter schools scored an F grade.

Acclaim Academy was shut down last year for failing grades. Not everyone supports charter schools and advocates for both sides were locked in an emotional battle over state construction funding this year.

“We understand its competition and competition isn't necessarily a bad thing. Competition tends to make us all better,” Weisheyer said.

School board members are also discussing a sales tax referendum to generate more local money for new schools.

Contact Michael Lopardi for more on this story.

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