Sarasota School Of Arts And Sciences Inc
SARASOTA FL 34236-4016
Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences provides a small, intimate environment of academic excellence and enrichment, utilizing community partnerships and traditional and innovative teaching methods.
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Tara N. Tahmosh
Board Chair Mr. Terence McGannon
Board Chair Affiliation Senior Friendship Center
General Info
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1997
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Exempt 0
State Registration 0
Financial Summary
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Letter of DeterminationView
Impact Statement

We are a high performing charter school, as designated by the state of Florida. This designation is only given to charter schools that are both academically proficient as well as financially solvent.  In addition, our school was ranked 11th in the state for middle schools by for the 2015 Public School Rankings. This distinction was won based upon standardized tests scores as well as parent, employee, and student climate surveys.


Academically, SSA+S is one of the highest performing middle school, traditional or charter, in Sarasota County.  Sarasota County, an A district, is a high performing district, making this accomplishment even greater.  In 2013, we were ranked 17th out of every middle school in the state.  In addition to standardized test scores, our school also performs very well at the district science fair.  This year our students won 42% of the awards for the entire district.   


In addition, to our academic strengths, as a high performing charter school, requires financial solvency.  Not only are we audited yearly by a contracted firm, we are also audited by Standard and Poor (S&P).  Our S&P audit has always ranked us as a BBB-, a designation that we are proud of as a school, in which our income is 100% enrollment-based.

Needs Statement

Our programs require constant upgrades/renewals to remain cutting edge:

  1. Instruments
  2. Costumes
  3. Equipment 
  4. Technical courses, such as Digital Design and Technology require the newest versions of software and programs to ensure that we are teaching our students to be competitive and prepared for high school, and beyond.
Background Statement
Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences was conceived in 1996, when the State of Florida sanctioned charter schools. A group of parents and teachers interested in developing an innovative middle school formed the core group in beginning the process of writing the original charter. Charter schools must be unique in nature in order to be considered for approval by the State. The founders of SSA+S all concurred that a successful middle school should be based upon a solid foundation of arts and sciences, and this type of school was needed in the Sarasota community. To accomplish this goal, a relevant multicultural curriculum was established, based on an interdisciplinary, hands-on, thematic approach. The entire community was, and is currently, being used as a "classroom" involving students, parents, staff, local arts, science, environmental, and business contributors, all sharing a synergistic, collaborative vision. SSA+S became a reality when the first class of 6th graders (50 in total) entered the doors in August, 1997. Located in the Rosemary District, we are in a historic downtown neighborhood that is part of a revitalization initiative supported by the City. The SSA+S Board of Directors chose the neighborhood because of its central downtown location and proximity to places such as Selby Library, the Asolo, Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, Selby Botanical Gardens, Mote Marine, Ringling Museum, as well as many other cultural  centers. The growth at SSA+S has been substantial, in both student population (750) as well as in achievements. Our enrollment mirrors that of the county, with all various subgroups and socioeconomic levels represented. We are excited to report that SSA+S continues to achieve a very strong "A" grade from the Florida Department of Education. We are also one of the few charter schools in Florida to earn the distinction of "High Performing Charter School".

Keeping the Arts in Education - each student at SSA+S takes an art elective course each day. We offer a diverse variety of art classes to attract students based upon their individual interests.  In spite of being a small school, we currently offer:

1. Theatre I, II, & III

2. Musical Theatre I & II

3. Band I, II, III

4. Chorus

5. Intro to Music

6. 2-D Art I, II, III

7. Digital Art & Design I, II

8. Television Production

9. Technology I, II, III

10. Dance I, II, III

11. Latin Dance

These various options allow our students to explore their interests and have fun. For other students, these courses offer them the appropriate prerequisite skills to gain entrance into the Booker VPA or the Suncoast Polytechnical High Schools.  
Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
FL- Manatee
Areas Served Comments SSA+S serves a diverse student population residing in both Sarasota and Manatee County. Busing is provided utilizing pocket pickups by Sarasota County school district transportation. SSA+S also provides limited transportation to the Manatee County students.
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Education
Secondary Org Type
Tertiary Org Type
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President

Sarasota School of Arts & Sciences (“SSAS”) is the realization of what a charter school is meant to be: independent and innovative;  achieving excellence by being involved within the downtown community. Since the school was founded in 1997, it has faced various challenges: identifying the ideal location to allow the students access to all of the arts in Sarasota; recruiting effective teachers that could think outside the educational “box”; proving the model of blending academics, science, and the arts could not only work, but excel.

Recently, the challenges are of a different nature. Our brand new state-of-the-art campus is allowing us to teach the ideal number of students for our model, 750. We have resisted pressure to increase the number of students, or expand onto the high school grades. A recent principal search yielded a first rate educator, Ms. Tara Tahmosh, who’s vision and energy is leading the school to an entirely new and higher level of excellence. In order to maintain this high level of educational excellence (recognized by both Sarasota County and the State of Florida), the school always wants to offer the staff the opportunity to continue their education, earn higher degrees, and ever improve their methodology.  This continuous improvement model is valued by our faculty and evidenced in our students.

SSAS began with less than 50 children, renting space from Girls, Inc.  The second year, we moved, using spare rooms in a local church. In 2000, the school was able to acquire a building on its current location. This could not have been done were it not for the support of Harvey Vengroff, whose son was attending the school. In 2010, the school successfully applied for an eleven million dollar bond, and completely rebuilt its campus.

During this time, from its founding to the present, SSAS has provided some of the best middle school education in Sarasota. It is an “A” rated, Five-Star school. As importantly, it has stayed true to its mission of providing an intimate environment and using community partnerships and innovative teaching methods to achieve academic excellence and enrichment.

I became involved with SSAS in 1999, as my youngest daughter was finishing up her primary school education. The school struggled mightily in those early years, while we demonstrated that we could deliver a superior middle school education that also incorporated the arts and sciences. And, while my daughter long ago graduated from SSAS (and has completed her college degree, as well), I find the mission and goal still as important today as it was over fifteen years ago, compelling me to stay involved and  be part of a group that can offer middle school students a world class education.


Terence E. McGannon

Board President

Statement from the CEO/Executive Director

Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences is an exemplary middle school of academic excellence in Sarasota County.  Our free, public, charter school, whose enrollment is completely dictated by the lottery policy created by the state of Florida, makes our students flourish.  At our school, our administration holds themselves and the teachers to the highest of standards.  These expectations are then shared with every student for them to perform at their highest level.  We expect our students to learn, every day, with an educational program that uses procedures and schoolwide discipline to ensure that every student’s time on task is at the optimum level.  In addition, we assess our students’ ability in all subject areas and create individualized schedules so that each child can choose their courses, excel in their specialties, and receive additional help with their weaknesses.  We run two full time reading labs and one full time math resource course to meet the needs of struggling students.  We offer accelerated courses and educational electives to meet the needs of our most advanced and Gifted students.  These individualized offerings allow us to help every child grow academically.


In addition, our school believes in the power of the teacher.  We know that our teachers’ methods and expectations are the reason why our students excel.  They never hesitate to donate their time to a child in need.  Over half of the staff mentors a student, for free, at our school.  Teachers attend professional development trainings, monthly department meetings, and biweekly team meetings to ensure that they are doing the best job for their students.  Our school flourishes because of the faculty and staff that work here; they provide the heart of our school and honor our charter every day.


A formal Curriculum Guide, reflecting the Florida Standards, is a plan for all instructional activities in meeting the criteria for stated objectives regarding the course of study. The Guide incorporates a program of studies that addresses learning in the three major developmental domains. It is the belief at SSA+S that this holistic approach of concurrently focusing on the three domains, will facilitate the child in reaching his /her optimum level of development.

The scope of the curriculum delineates the content for each year and helps assure that the content of the program is presented in a systematic and responsible manner. The scope should offer as many activities as possible in an effort to accomplish the established objectives and benchmarks. The scope of the curriculum is interdisciplinary in nature, within a Multicultural Educational format, allowing a thematic approach to be the vehicle for disseminating a meaningful and effective education to all students.

Budget $6,475,903
Category Education, General/Other Elementary & Secondary Education
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Children Only (5 - 14 years) Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Short Term Success

During the 2015 school year, the school will meet the proficiency goals as set by the ambitious instructional reading targets for the total population and all subgroups as measured by AMOs.

By the year 2015, there will be a minimum increase of 4% for any subgroups performing below 70% proficient, as measured by the FSA and FCAT 2.0. There will be a minimum increase of

2% for groups performing above 70%. All subgroups performing at 90% can maintain or demonstrate an increase in the percent proficient.

Long Term Success

83% of our eighth grade students read on-level, as measured by the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). This is in comparison to the district at 70% and the state at 57%.

84% of our eighth grade students  compute on level, as measured by the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) as compared to 69% at the district level and 47% at the state level.
Program Success Monitoring

Our program is monitored by:

- SSA+S Board of Directors

- Sarasota County Schools
- Florida Department of Education
- Standardized Testing
- Sarasota County Health Department 
Program Success Examples One example of our program success is our high school matriculations.  We sent over 64% of our students into special programs or smaller learning communities in 2014.  We believe that our program must prepare our students for high school and beyond.  We endeavor to have each student that is interested in a special program be admitted and complete it successfully.
Program Comments by Organization There are always challenges to teaching adolescents and helping them develop into responsible and successful young adults.  However, we continue our endeavors, providing the best educational environment for our children.
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Tara N. Tahmosh
CEO Term Start Feb 2000
CEO/Executive Director Email

Tara Tahmosh-Newell, Principal, earned her Master's of Educational Leadership Degree from the University of South Florida as well as her Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary English Education. She was hired as a language arts teacher at SSA+S in 2000. She then worked as an administrative intern while earning her Master's degree. She took over as Principal in 2012.

Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Mr. Pepar Anspaugh Jan 2001 - Nov 2010
Senior Staff
Mrs. Melissa J. Wachob Financial Manager
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 59
Part Time Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 96
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 4
Volunteers 611
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes

The Players Theatre

Asolo Theatre

Circus Conservatory

Bishop Planetarium

Sarasota Film Festival

Embracing Our Differences

Sarasota County Schools Science Fair

Mote Marine

Sarasota County Courthouse Juvenile Court Program

Selby Gardens Pilot Program

Van Wezel

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
2014 Institute for Middle Level Leaders
Florida Consortium of Charter Schools
Florida Charter School Conference
Charter Review Committee Member
2014 Institute for Middle Level Leaders2016
External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
"A" Rating (2002-2003, 2006-2015)Florida Department of Education
Florida Public School Ranking - 11th in State of FloridaNiche.com2015
Ultimate Management Team of the YearTampa Bay Business Journal2011
Risk Management Provisions
Automobile Insurance
Business Income
Commercial General Liability
Educators Errors and Omission Liability
General Property Coverage
Crime Coverage
Employee Dishonesty
Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Improper Sexual Conduct/Sexual Abuse
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Policies and Procedures Yes
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Terence McGannon
Company Affiliation Senior Friendship Center
Board Term Sept 2014 to Sept 2016
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Ms. Tracy Bretoi Sarasota School Board PALS
Ms. Chantal Freedman Community Volunteer
Mr. Carlos Hernandez Sarasota School Board
Dr. Marilyn Highland Community Volunteer
Mr. David Jennings Commercial Refrigerator Door
Ms. Tanya Jones Deposit Operations Specialist
Dr. Steve Kamm Sarasota Memorial Hospital
Mr. Terence McGannon Senior Friendship Center
Mr. James McKelly Kuttin Up Barbershop, Inc.
Ms. Georgette Ortwein Sarasota Magazine
Ms. Christina Pitchford PTSS Representative
Mr. Matt Wenzel Wenzel Electric
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 10
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 6
Female 6
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 1
Board Term Limits 3
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 10
Board Meeting Attendance % 78
Board Self-Evaluation No
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Board Conflict of Interest Policy No
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 7
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 25
Standing Committees
Governance Comments by Organization

Educational funding has declined several times in the last few years.  We have still not reached the level of funding that we had in 2007.  At the same time, with the class size amendment, we struggle with having the perfect number of students in each classroom, with budget allowances.  However, our school still maintains all programs. Each year we continue to make the Arts and Physical Education curriculums a priority.  In fact, we added an additional art teacher last year to meet the demands of a new facet of art and technology, with Graphic Design.  In addition to these elective courses, our school believes that field trips are valuable learning and cultural experiences for our students, however, we understand that some parents cannot afford them.  We send 100% of our students on every performing art and science field trip regardless of the cost, to ensure that every student receives these valuable opportunities.  We wish to continue these practices so that every student receives every chance for a rich, multifaceted education.

Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Start Month July
Fiscal Year Start Day 01
Fiscal Year Begins 2016
Fiscal Year End Month June
Fiscal Year End Day 30
Fiscal Year Ends 2017
Projected Revenue $6,475,903.00
Projected Expenses $6,475,903.00
Organization has Endowment No
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Campaign Dates 0 to 0
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
Audit/Financial Documents
Historical Financial Review
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$28,676$31,567$36,323
Investment Income, Net of Losses$22,455$34,207$24,569
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$27,424$16,998$36,751
Revenue In-Kind$0$0$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$4,475,372$3,930,749$3,616,145
Administration Expense$1,852,561$2,224,530$2,070,386
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.021.041.04
Program Expense/Total Expenses71%64%64%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$11,570,084$11,610,795$11,624,949
Current Assets$1,983,885$1,785,408$1,608,257
Long-Term Liabilities$10,344,438$10,502,321$10,650,626
Current Liabilities$729,673$719,060$840,416
Total Net Assets$495,973$389,414$133,907
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountEducation Services $6,364,179Education Services $6,258,892Education Services $5,770,672
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountStudent Field Trips $71,678Student Field Trips $72,423Student Field Trips $68,285
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $28,676Contributions, gifts, grants $31,567Fundraising $36,751
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $100,001 - $125,000
Co-CEO/Executive Director Compensation $75,001 - $100,000
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities2.722.481.91
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets89%90%92%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Foundation Financial information taken from the organization's Federal 990s and audited financial statements.  Contributions include foundation and corporate support.  The Federal tax returns and audited financial statements reconcile.
Nonprofit Sarasota School Of Arts And Sciences Inc
Address 645 CENTRAL AVE
Phone 941 330-1855