Charter school at former St. Ed’s campus not moving in

VERO BEACH – The former St. Edward’s Lower School campus won’t be used as a charter school, according to the Indian River County School District.

The potential buyer for the site backed out of the purchase, Schools Superintendent Dr. Harry La Cava announced during Wednesday’s School Board meeting. School Board Attorney Usher “Larry” Brown told the board that during the interview process, representatives of the charter school, Vero Beach Academy, made it clear they were a “single-site” charter.

No representative from Vero Beach Academy was in the audience at the School Board meeting to address the loss of the site.

The School District’s charter school review committee had recommended denial of the charter school’s application based on deficiencies in the 400-page application.

La Cava told School Board members that the school never had a written agreement with the proposed buyer, either, though the district found out after the recommendation for denial was made.

“It just kind of firmed up,” La Cava said.

School Board members voted unanimously to support denying Vero Beach Academy’s charter application without discussion.

The proposed buyer of the former St. Edward’s Lower School campus on 2225 Club Drive on the barrier island had plans to build approximately 10 high-end luxury homes.

The developer, Riomar 11 LLC, had applied to the City of Vero Beach a new land designation that would have allowed for that residential development.

But with the downturn in the economy and sluggish real estate market, the developer  had sought a school to lease the property.

Earlier this month, Michael Strader, president of Charter School Associates, a company tapped to help the charter school get established, told that St. Edward’s Lower School campus would make an “excellent site” for a charter, given the amenities already there. Such amenities include several sports fields, a pool, and playgrounds.

There is no public middle school on the barrier island, and only one public elementary school.

Vero Beach Academy would have been a kindergarten through eighth grade school, targeting students who live within four miles of the campus.

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