Palm Beach County school officials are taking a closer look at the academic track record of Mavericks in Education Florida, the local for-profit charter school chain headed by Frank Biden. They have not been thrilled with their findings.
"Based on the information staff has received to date, there are reasons to be concerned about the strength of Mavericks' academic program," school district spokesman Nat Harrington wrote in an emailed response to New Times' questions.
Last month, the Palm Beach County School Board abruptly canceled a vote on three new
Mavericks charter school applications, after New Times began reporting on the company. District staffers had recommended approval of the charters. But now, Harrington says board members delayed the vote because they wanted more information about the grades and graduation rates at the eight existing Mavericks high schools in Florida.
On Florida's state report cards, Mavericks schools in Miami-Dade, Osceola, and Pinellas counties have scored "incomplete" because not enough students have taken the FCAT while enrolled there.
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State records also show dismal graduation rates at Mavericks schools. Last year in Miami-Dade, the Homestead campus of Mavericks graduated just 4.5 percent of its seniors.Mavericks High in North Miami Beach had a 12.7 percent graduation rate last year. In Fort Lauderdale the rate was 13.1 percent, in Largo it was 7.2 percent. The Mavericks High in Kissimmee had the highest rate, at 43.3 percent.
A new Mavericks school opened in Palm Springs this August, and another in Pompano Beach. They have not been open long enough to receive grades from the state.