Questions about Imagine Schools Inc. and its nonprofit status have arisen in Florida, where the Hillsborough County School board in Tampa voted unanimously Tuesday to reject an application to open a charter school there.
The company, based in Virginia, has nonprofit status there but has not received federal nonprofit status. Florida's charter law requires a nonprofit organization to run the school with local oversight.
According to the St. Petersburg Times, the vote could have
ramifications for the 11 other Imagine schools already operating in
Florida,if the state determines the schools have invalid charters:
"Imagine has asked the Florida Department of Education to resolve that question, and to rule that all its previously approved charters be declared valid. Officials from the Pasco and Pinellas districts said they were satisfied their Imagine schools were operating as legal nonprofits.
"But a Florida Department of State official told the St. Petersburg
Times that he backed Hillsborough's interpretation.
"Under Florida law, there is no nonprofit LLC," said Jay Kassees,
director of the Division of Corporations."
The school district and the state of Florida are not hostile to
charter schools. At the same meeting, the school board authorized five new schools to open. The district already has 27 charter schools within its boundaries.
Indiana has four Imagine Schools, two each in Fort Wayne and
Indianapolis. The company is trying to open a third in southeast Fort Wayne and also to expand its existing schools to offer high