The Value of School Choice


Sarasota County School district is dedicated to meeting the educational needs of every child. Every school has high-quality educational options for students. Students originally are assigned to the school in the attendance area in which their parents live, but the district also provides a number of opportunities for parents to select other options for their children.

Several magnet schools and programs that focus on specific areas of interest are available to students who meet eligibility requirements. Application is made directly to the school for those programs. Likewise, parents choosing charter school enrollment for their student apply directly at the school.

The John M. McKay Scholarship Program for private or public school is available to students who have an active Individual Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Accommodation Plan and meet certain other eligibility criteria.

In addition to these options, the district annually offers Controlled Open Enrollment (Choice) to parents. During that time, parents may apply to enroll their child in a different school in the next academic year. Information on the availability of openings and the choice process is distributed in the early months of the year. This information will also be available on this web site in the future.

Sarasota County School’s mission is to authorize high quality public charter schools through a rigorous standards-based approval process, effective and continuous oversight, and meaningful collaboration to ensure that students who attend Sarasota County charter schools attain a quality education and achieve high expectations.

Charter schools are public schools that operate under a performance contract or a “charter,” which frees them from most rules and regulations created for traditional public schools. Charter schools are allocated public educational funds from the same monies given to traditional public schools. They hire their own teachers, design their own academic program, and control their own finances. They have their own board of directors that make decisions for the school.

Sarasota County Schools has oversight responsibility for all charter schools within the county, but charter schools function largely independently under the terms of their contract or charter with the district. Organizations wishing to be granted permission to operate a charter school within the district must apply to the School Board of Sarasota County, submitting details about the proposed school and its governing board.