Increase the opportunities for meaningful choice both within the district and via interdistrict transfer by creating viable choice options for students to access within their district or to move between the districts of Polk, Osceola and Hillsborough Counties via Interdistrict Agreements.
Currently there are a number of parents within the three primary districts in this grant who are seeking viable, meaningful choice options for their students. Some of these choice options are found within the district via choice schools such as NCLB choice, scholarships or choice schools, as well as charters or career academies. Others are outside the district, where students move between Polk County and Hillsborough on the west side of Polk County. In addition, there are a significant number of students who reside on the east side of Polk County which shares a district boundary with Osceola.
Polk currently has a formalized an inter-local agreement with Osceola for Polk students who wish to attend Four Corners or New Dimensions charter schools located in Osceola. During the period of the grant, the districts will work together to maximize the number of struggling students from low socio economic backgrounds to be afforded meaningful choice options. Hillsborough and Polk also share significant boundaries and have informal agreements in place to move a few students between the two districts. The focus of this grant will be to strengthen choice options within the districts as well as to assure that the interdistrict agreements are clearly articulated, meaningful and focus on those students who are most needy.
This project includes primary partnerships between Polk, Osceola and Hillsborough Counties as well as expanded partnerships to also include Indian River, Lake, Manatee, Orange, Pasco and Sumter Counties.
In Year 2, the Polk VPSC grant funds were used to purchase a school bus to be used by Four Corners Charter School for the purpose of transporting Polk County students to Osceola County's Four Corners Charter School. In January 2010, the bus began running two routes each morning and afternoon, transporting approximately 150 Polk County students.
Interdistrict Project with Lake County and Sumter County
In Year 3, a project amendment was submitted to the Florida Department of Education to create an interdistrict program between Lake County and Sumter County.