• 2 Osceola County charter schools may close after superintendent finds ‘blatant mismanagement'

    By: Michael Lopardi , James Tutten

    Updated:

    OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Two charter schools in Osceola County could have to close because of financial issues.

    The superintendent is warning Avant Garde Academy that its charter agreements may not be renewed.

    A letter released by the Osceola County school board describes the financial concerns and uses terms like "blatant mismanagement."


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    There are now questions about the future of Avant Garde Academy's two schools in Osceola County, which may have to close if their charters are not renewed by the end of June.

    “For me, this is new, like I don't have any letters,” said mother Michelle Olivencia. “I didn't have any announcements about it, so this is new for me.”

    Olivencia said her daughter attends the school on Orange Blossom Trail. The other campus is on Pleasant Hill Road.

    The district office said Wednesday the superintendent plans to recommend the charters not be renewed because they're in a financial emergency. A letter accuses the governing board of "blatant mismanagement and gross neglect."

    A report completed in February found the schools had thousands of dollars in unpaid rent at the end of last year and raised concerns about their ability to pay bills.

    The current charter contracts are set to expire on June 30 and a district spokeswoman said the schools cannot operate without an agreement. She said the schools are working to relieve some of their financial conditions and if things improve, the superintendent will reconsider her recommendation.

    At the end of the last school year, the two campuses combined had more than 900 students who may need to find a new school, depending on what happens.

    Calls to the executive director and board president have not been returned.

    The schools' response to the audit disputes some of the unpaid rent numbers and said the schools had made significant positive change in the last few months.

    The Osceola County School Board will ultimately have to make the final decision.

     


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