Imagine Schools’ expansion, school calendar finally official

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – The seventh and eighth grade expansion of Imagine Schools at South Vero and the calendar for next school year have been officially approved. Both issues drew split votes from the School Board.

“It’s awesome,” Imagine Schools Principal Joe Mills said after Tuesday’s School Board meeting of the official approval for adding the two grades.

As for the calendar, students will have Veterans Day off from school, as well as Good Friday. The School Board had asked its calendar advisory committee to review the previously approved calendar and come up with a plan for both holidays.

“I hope this one sticks,” Board member Carol Johnson said about the calendar prior to the vote.

This was the third time the calendar had been tweaked.

Board member Claudia Jimenez was lone dissenter of the calendar, saying that she would still prefer to have students in school on Veterans Day and that the School District should not tailor the calendar for one religious group.

“We do have a diverse community,” she said, explaining that the calendar should reflect that diversity.

Instead of having school on Veterans Day – a Thursday – schools will be in session the next day, Friday. Instead of having schools in session on Good Friday, April 22, schools will be open on the Monday after Easter, April 25.

Both Jimenez and School Board member Debbie MacKay voted against the approval of Imagine Schools’ expansion.

Jimenez pointed out to her fellow board members that the charter’s recommended contract amendment was not supported by Superintendent Harry La Cava and “that says something.”

She also said that the board has a responsibility and an opportunity to enforce the district’s desegregation plan, which, in her opinion, is not being enforced at Imagine Schools.

“I do wish Imagine well,” Jimenez said. However, she said that the charter’s promise to comply with the desegregation plan doesn’t go far enough.

“I personally don’t feel it is enough,” she said.

MacKay told her board members that other school districts in the state are looking into issues with Imagine Schools’ corporation governance and financials.

With a vote of 3-2, Imagine Schools at South Vero parents and students clapped in approval of the vote.

Imagine Schools will add its seventh grade this fall, allowing those students currently in sixth grade to matriculate up to seventh. The eighth grade will be added the following the school year.

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