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Sunday, April 21, 2024

New initiative would change Newberry public schools to charter schools

Newberry Education First addresses issues faced by city’s schools

<p>A sign in front of the Alachua County Public Schools district office building is seen Sunday, June 6, 2021.</p>

A sign in front of the Alachua County Public Schools district office building is seen Sunday, June 6, 2021.

Newberry Education First initiative wants to convert Newberry public schools into charter schools beginning in the 2025-2026 school year.

The initiative wants to bring Newberry schools under the leadership of community leaders instead of the current Alachua County School Board leadership. 

However, the charter schools will still be a part of Alachua County Public Schools. The three Newberry schools, Newberry Elementary, Oak View Middle and Newberry High, would operate under unified leadership addressing pertinent issues relevant to Newberry.

Some issues the charter schools wish to address include “increasing pressure on teachers, large classes, too many portables, mandates from a large and disconnected county school board, divisive politics and local needs that are going unmet,” the initiative’s website said. 

The Newberry City Commission plans to serve as the school board for the charters until it can find a qualified “superintendent.” The initiative plans to later seek citizen input to decide whether to keep the city commission model or move to an elected school board. 

Funding for the charter schools will come from existing resources and no new taxes will be put in place. 

Students already attending Newberry schools will have the option to attend the charters. Students outside the zones will need to apply.

In a media alert, ACPS said, “Alachua County Public Schools remain committed to the success of all students in the district.”

Parents and teachers in Newberry will vote on the initiative in April. 

Contact Megan Howard at Follow her on X @meganmhxward.

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Megan Howard

Megan Howard is a second-year journalism major and the K-12 Education reporter for The Alligator. When she's not writing, you can find her rewatching the Eras Tour movie or reading The Hunger Games series.

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