by Robert Jordan
At a recent panel discussion regarding the state of our local aerospace industry, I was asked. “What one thing could be done to spark sustained economic development in Brevard County?” My answer was simple, “Invest in education.”
These beliefs and passions for education are not new. As a past chairman of the School Board of Brevard Public Schools, I believe all students must have access to dedicated teachers; a safe, secure and nurturing school environment; and a rigorous academic program. My most recent involvement is chairman of the Governing Board of the Viera Charter School, the new science and math focused charter school that will provide all Brevard County residents with an opportunity to experience the best of public education.
Viera Charter School
The Viera Charter School will serve students entering grades K-8 in a state-of-the art, 41,000 sq.ft. two-story school facility that will open August 2013 for the 2013-2014 school year. It will target those students interested in an alternative public education program with a focus on Math and Science in conjunction with other core subjects.
“We have high expectations,” were the words I used at the groundbreaking ceremony when describing the Governing Board’s vision for the school. Other Board members include Scott Steele, Kimberly Africano, Rob Naberhouse and Jeff Piersall. The all-volunteer Governing Board is dedicated to an educational option that will challenge students to achieve at high levels and involve parents as part of their child’s education.
What About the Budget Issues Facing Brevard Public Schools?
We share the grave issues facing the County as the School Board reviews options regarding the possible closure of schools. I am convinced that today’s School Board will make a thoughtful and responsible decision. But there should be no mistake regarding Viera Charter School’s impact on these deliberations or the impact of the charter school on the district.
Viera Charter School is being built using private funding and no funds that would otherwise go to the District for construction or capital uses are being diverted to the charter school. No public tax dollars are being used for its construction. A private developer is constructing Viera Charter School and will lease the facility back to the school; lease payments are made from operating funds.
Once opened, Viera Charter School will operate on the same state education funds that support all public and charter schools. It will receive funding from the state via the Florida Education Finance Program. This funding is comparable to traditional public school funding less up to 5 percent, which is withheld by the school district for oversight and support services. In simpler terms, state education funding follows the student.
I urge interested persons to check out the new school’s website at www.vieracharterschool.com for further information on enrollment. As a longtime advocate and proponent of the benefits and value of education, my appeal to the citizens of Brevard County is simple – supporting education is vital to the long-term success of our community. All schools deserve the support of our community, whether it is traditional public schools, private schools, or charter schools. Education is an issue that should unite us as a community – not divide us. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to collaborate and serve our students, teachers, and community in something I deeply believe in – Education.
Robert Jordan is a local business owner and chairman of the Governing Board of the Viera Charter School. He served as a past chairman of the School Board of Brevard Public Schools.